Sunday, February 22, 2009

Army kills two devotees in Kashmir

Sopur, Feb 21: Two youth were killed and another was critically injured when Army opened indiscriminate fire at Bomai here in north Kashmir on Saturday evening. 
The incident triggered massive demonstrations in the apple town with protesters demanding action against the accused troopers. 
Witnesses said the incident occurred when an Army convoy of 22 Rashtriya Rifles was passing through the area near Bomai. “The convoy halted near a bund and without any provocation opened indiscriminate fire on a group of youth walking there. Two youth died on the spot,” eyewitnesses said.
The annual ‘Urs’ (festival) of noted Muslim saint, Hazrat Sheikh Hamza Makhdoomi, was being celebrated at the nearby Tujar village, the birthplace of the widely revered saint. Thousands of devotees visited the famous shrine on the occasion.
The slain youth were identified as Muhammad Amin Tantray son of Muhammad Shaban of Bomai and Javid Ahmad Dar son of Muhammad Ismail of Muslim Peer, Sopur. Another youth, Firdous Ahmad Khwaja son of Abdul Ghaffar was rushed to SKIMS Soura in a critical condition. 
As soon as the news about the killings spread, thousands of people assembled outside the sub-district hospital here. Shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the protesters carried bodies of the slain youth in a procession to the police station. 
A group of protesters pelted stones on the police station. Police swung into action and fired dozens of tear smoke shells to disperse the mob. The protests were going on outside the police station till late evening. However, according to later reports, police and CRPF resorted to indiscriminate firing on the protesters injuring another five of them. They were rushed to Srinagar hospitals in a critical condition.
“This is clearly a cold-blooded murder. We will continue the protests till the accused troopers are punished,” the agitated demonstrators said. Late in the evening, bodies of the deceased youth were taken by their families while the protesters dispersed.
Policemen laced with batons and tear smoke shells have been deployed all over the town. To prevent the situation from aggravating, authorities imposed restrictions in various areas.
The deputy commissioner, Varmul, Baseer Ahmad Khan, said a magisterial inquiry had been ordered into the incident. “SDM Sopur has been appointed as inquiry officer. Law will take its own course,” Khan said.
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