Kashmir: Two killed, two injured as Army allegedly opens fire at car

Shafaqna (Shia International News Association)

Two civilians were killed and two others wounded on Monday evening when Army opened fire at a running car in which they were travelling through Jammu and Kashmir’s central district of Budgam and had allegedly ignored soldiers’ signal to stop for checking.

The Army has regretted the incident and said it has ordered a probe into the shooting incident and assured that anyone found guilty will be severely dealt with.

While residents alleged the victims travelling in a Maruti 800 car (Registration No.JK01R 0321) were targeted by the soldiers manning a makeshift checkpoint without any reason or provocation, Army said joint vehicle checking teams of the Army and police had flagged the car to stop at three places but the signals were ignored leading to the shooting incident at Chattergam, 16-km from here.

Reports of massive protests and minor clashes between irate mobs and police have started pouring in from the area. Officials said police reinforcements have been rushed in to control the situation.

Local police has registered an FIR against the soldiers of Army’s 53 Rashtriya Rifles involved in the shooting incident. The slain men have been identified as Faisal and Merajuddin and those critically injured are Zahid and Shakeel. They are battling for life in Army hospital here, police sources said.

A statement issued by Srinagar-based 15 Army Corps claimed that based on specific intelligence reports about the movement of terrorists in a white Maruti 800 car between the villages of Nowgam and Pulwama, three mobile vehicle check posts (MVCPs) were established along the road connecting them through Budgam and Pulwama districts.

“At about 5pm, a white Maruti 800 car approached the first check point where the security personnel tried to stop it but it did not. Again at the second check point, the vehicle was signalled to stop but it ignored warning again,” the release stated.

It added, “At the third check point, the vehicle tried to barge through the check point, resulting into a firing incident in which four persons were injured. The injured were rushed to the Army Base Hospital, Srinagar. Two persons succumbed to their injuries and two are under treatment.”

The statement further said, “Army regrets the loss of lives and has ordered an inquiry into the circumstance leading to the incident. Anyone found guilty will be severely dealt with.

While separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah, called for Valley-wide protests against the incident, ruling National Conference while condemning it asked the Election Commission of India to order “an immediate, time-bound and transparent probe into this incident resulting in the death of two individuals and injuries to two others or authorize the State Government to order an immediate probe.”

NC general secretary and senior minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said that since the Model Code of Conduct is in effect due to the electoral process in the State, NC appeals the ECI to announce the probe or allow the State government to do it and “take suitable and just action based on the findings of such an investigation. IGP (Kashmir range) Abdul Gani Mir said, “The law will take its own course” when asked if the soldiers involved in the incident are being arrested.

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