Girl among 3 civilians killed in Army firing

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, July 7:  Three civilians including a teenage girl were killed in Army firing during clashes in Redwani area of South  Kashmir’s Kulgam district today while authorities have intensified security across Kashmir and imposed curfew in Tral town and restrictions in Old City areas.
An Army patrolling party opened fire upon a group of youth after they pelted stones on them in Hawoora area of Khudwani near Redwani area today.
Five persons were injured and they were taken to nearby Primary Health Centre (PHC) Frisal where three among the injured were declared as brought dead.
The deceased have been identified as Shakir Ahmad Khanday, 22, son of Mohammad Hussain Khanday, Irshad Ahmad, 20, son of Abdul Majeed and Andleeb, 16, daughter of Ali Mohammad. The injured has been identified as Zahid Ahmad and Yawer Ahmad Dar.
A police spokesman said here that an Army patrol in district Kulgam while moving through Hawoora Mishipora area this afternoon was pelted by miscreants. “Consequently, the Army tried to disperse the miscreants and in the process five individuals sustained injuries”, the spokesman said.
“The injured persons were evacuated to nearby hospital. However, later three persons succumbed to the injuries including a girl while the other two individuals are stated to be stable”, he said, added that Police have started the investigation into the matter.
Srinagar based Defence spokesman said here that an Area Domination Patrol ( ADP) of Army while moving in general area Hawoora, Kulgam came under heavy stone pelting. “As the ADP tried to extricate, they were chased by an aggressive and menacing crowd of 400-500 persons which kept building up and coming dangerously close,” the spokesman said.
He added that the troops while exercising extreme restraint, cautioned the stone pelters, who, however, failed to relent and repeatedly threw petrol bombs and stones at the patrolling party. “At one point of time, some unidentified militants also fired on the column. This resulted in some soldiers receiving grievous injuries”, he said.
“In response to this grave provocation and to ensure the security of own troops, controlled firing was resorted to by the Army which resulted in an unfortunate loss of human lives. The matter is being investigated to ascertain facts on the ground,” the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in the last rites of three civilians at Hawoora village. Several rounds of funeral prayers were held for the slain civilians at a school ground in Hawoora village.
Soon after the funeral, the people took to streets and staged massive protests against the Army for opening fire on the youth.
Authorities snapped mobile Internet service in south Kashmir districts of Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag soon after the killings.
And authorities today tightened security in almost all the sensitive parts of Kashmir and decided to impose restrictions in Old City of Srinagar on Sunday even as curfew was imposed in Tral town of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district since morning on the eve of the second anniversary of killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
Srinagar district administration has decided to impose restrictions in the territorial jurisdiction of seven police stations in downtown Srinagar tomorrow (Sunday).
According to an official of the administration, the restrictions under Section 144 of CrPC will remain in force under the jurisdictions of police stations Nowhatta, M R Gunj, Rainawari, Khanyar, Safakadal, and partially in Kralkhud and Maisuma on Sunday. He said restrictions will be imposed as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir said the admit cards of the candidates appearing for UGC National Eligibility Test (NET) examination scheduled on July 8 at various centres at Srinagar shall be treated as curfew/movement pass on the day.
He asked the district administrations in the division to extend all possible help including transport to candidates appearing for the said examination and set up a helpline in this regard in their respective jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in strength across the Tral township to prevent rallies marking the second death anniversary of Burhan Wani. All entry points to the town have been sealed by forces to enforce the curfew.
Curfew was announced in the town early morning by authorities through public address systems.
Mobile internet service was also snapped in most parts of the Valley today following the killing of three civilians at Hawoora, Kulgam in South Kashmir.
Wani was killed in an encounter on July 8, 2016, along with two of his associates in Bomdooru village of Kokernag in Anantnag district. His killing triggered massive protests in the Valley which continued for five months during which around 80 people were killed.
Separatists have called for the shutdown across the Valley on Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of Burhan Wani and others killed during people’s uprising in 2016. They have also called strike against the killing of 3 civilians in Kulgam.
And life in the Valley was disrupted today due to the shutdown called by separatists against shifting of Asiya Andrabi, chief of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, to Delhi by NIA.
Andrabi and her two associates Fahmeeda Sofi and Nahida Nasreen were shifted from Srinagar Central Jail to Delhi in connection with an FIR filed against them by the National Investigation Agency.
The Patiala House Court in Delhi remanded the trio to NIA’s custody for 10 days till July 16.
Geelani and Mirwaiz have been placed under house arrest while Malik was taken into preventive custody on Friday.
Shops, public transport and other businesses remained closed in Srinagar city and other district headquarters of the Valley. Rail services were suspended as a precautionary measure.