Four civilians and a militant were killed when gunmen attacked an army vehicle in Shopian district on Sunday evening, an official said.
Army’s Srinagar based spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia told Kashmir Post that all four were killed after militants attacked the Mobile Vehicle Check Post (MVCP) of army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles at Pahnoo village this evening.
“Militants travelling in a vehicle fired upon army personnel who retaliated by firing several shots, leading to a brief exchange of fire. During the exchange of fire one militant was killed instantly and later three OGWs were found dead. One rifle was also recovered. The search operation was started in the area while an alert was also sounded.” he added.
Colonel Kalia identified three slain persons as SuhailKhaleelWagay of Pinjoora, Muhammad Shahid Khan of Malikgundand Shahnawaz Ahmad Wagay of Trenz, all from Shopian district.
Inspector general of police-Kashmir Range, S P Pani told Kashmir Post that the police was ascertaining the identity of the deceased. “Police have reached the spot to start the legal formalities,” Pani said. He identified the slain militant as Aamir Ahmad Malik of Harmain, Shopian.
The bodies were not handed over to the local people when this report was filed on late Sunday night. The villagers refuted the army claim and said the four slain men were civilians and not OGWs. “On Sunday evening militants attacked army vehicle in Pahnoo village. The army in retaliation killed a militant and later shot dead four civilians who were traveling in a car,” a local, wishing not to be named told this newspaper.
“One militant was killed in a brief shootout between army and militants. After ten minutes firing resumed and four civilians were shot dead.”
Following the incident, scores of people took to the streets and staged protests in the area. The announcements were also made on loudspeakers of various mosques asking people to take to the roads.
According to a eye-witness, hundreds of youth from Pahnoo and its adjoining villages staged massive protests after the killings. “The protesters pelted forces with stones and raised pro-freedom slogans. The forces retaliated with tear smoke shells, and fired bullets in air to disperse the demonstrators,” a witness said.
Following the attack authorities snapped mobile internet service in South Kashmir districts.
Restrictions In Srinagar
Authorities have decided to impose restrictions in parts of Srinagar city on Monday in wake of the shutdown call given by the Joint Resistance Leadership against Shopian killings.
An official told Kashmir Post that restrictions would be imposed in the areas failing under the jurisdiction of Police Station Rainawari, Khanyar, Safakadal, Nowhatta and M R Gunj in old city while partial restrictions will be in place at Maisuma and Kralkhud areas.
Shutdown today, Wednesday: JRL
Kashmir’s Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and MuhammadYasin Malik has asked people to observe complete shutdown on Monday against Shopian killings.
In a statement, the joint leadership termed the Shopian killings as “gruesome.”
“We strongly condemn the killing of four civilians by government forces. We urge people to observe complete shutdown against these murders on Monday,” they said.
Earlier the JRL termed shifting of political prisoners from Kashmir to Jammu prisons as “political vendetta,” and asked people to observe complete strike on March 7 (Wednesday) against the move.
“We urge the people of Kashmir to observe a complete strike on Wednesday (March 7) against the shifting of prisoners to outside jails, their prolonged and illegal detention and the ill-treatment meted out to them by the jail authorities and the ruling regime,” the leadership said in a statement here.
“We strongly condemn the arbitrary and illegal move of shifting Dr Muhammad QasimFaktoo, Muhammad ShafiShariati and others from Central Jail Srinagar to Udhampur and Hiranagar prisons in the middle of the night,” they said.
Stating that the move to shift prisoners was “dictatorial and inhuman”, the leadership said it is in total violation of the court orders.
“Shifting of DrFaktoo and Shariati to Jammu prisons is a brazen violation of the orders of the double bench of J&K High Court that had stated that the duo can’t be shifted to any other place outside Srinagar,” the leadership said.
They said that earlier many Kashmiri prisoners who were lodged in Central Jail Srinagar were also shifted and lodged in various prisons in Jammu that included Nazir Ahmed Sheikh, Muhammad Ayoub Dar, Muhammad Ayoub Mir, Abdul Hameed Teli, Tariq Ahmed Dar, Rayees Ahmed, Showkat Ahmed Hakeem, Adil Ahmed Zargar, Moomin Ahmed, Muhammad Ishaq Pal, Imran NabiWani, Mehrajudin, Danish Malik, Feroz Ahmed, Mufti Abdul Ahad, Amir Ahmed Wagay and many others stating that the “move is highly condemnable.”
“DrFaktoo recently completed 25 years in prison while as Shariati also completed 15 years in jail. Both the prisoners are suffering from multiple ailments due to their prolonged confinement and yet they were shifted to Jammu jails, causing a risk to their lives which is inimical to all humanitarian and democratic principles,” the leadership said. “On the pretext of escape of one prisoner, endless miseries and hardships are being inflicted on hundreds of political prisoners and including shifting them to jails in Jammu.”
The leadership made a fervent appeal to world rights organizations including Asia Watch, Amnesty International and other human rights bodies to intervene into the grave violation of prisoners’ rights taking place in Kashmir and take steps to ensure all prisoners are brought back to the Valley and released without any pre-condition.
KAS Examination Deferred
Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (PSC) has postponed the KAS examination for four papers which were scheduled to be held on Monday.
An official spokesman told KNS that in view of the unavoidable situation the examinations of four papers for KAS examination scheduled to be held on March 5, 2018 have been postponed and new dates for the papers will be announced separately.