SRINAGAR: Two youngsters were shot dead and close to dozen civilians suffered injuries after the Army resorted to “indiscriminate firing” at protesters in South Kashmir’s Shopian district which was observing shutdown for fourth consecutive day today against the killing of two local militants and a teenager earlier this week.

Witnesses said violent clashes broke out in Ganawpora village of Shopian on Saturday afternoon when a group of youth pelted stones at a cavalcade of the Army's Rashtriya Rifles moving through the area. As the locality shut down and stone pelting intensified, the cavalcade came to a halt.

“Some troopers got down and initially fired in the air to scare them but when the boys didn’t relent, they shot them. At least dozen youth were injured in the firing of whom two have died, the condition of one is critical while the others are stable,” a resident of Ganawpora told The Citizen over phone, on the condition of anonymity.

Sources said one of the victims identified as Javid Ahmad Bhat, 20, a resident of Balpora in Shopian, was brought with critical head injuries to Pulwama district hospital where he died during the course of treatment.

Sources said another youth, identified as Suhail Javid Lone, 24, who is believed to be a resident of Srinagar, was shifted to a primary health centre in Rajpora where he was declared dead on arrival.

“Two more injured, identified as Adil Ahmad and Suhail Ahmad, are being treated at the hospital and their condition is stable,” Medical Superintendent of Pulwama hospital Dr Rashid Parra said.

Another victim, Rayis Ahmed, who was injured critically, has been referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment while other victims are believed to have suffered minor injuries and were treated at local facilities.

Reports said locals had put up posters hailing Firdous Ahmad, a Hizbul Mujahideen militant who was killed in an encounter with security forces in Chaidgund village on Wednesday along with Sameer Ahmed, another Hizb militant.

A teenager was shot dead while the sister of Sameer was critically injured due to a bullet injury in her head which she suffered in her vain attempt to rescue her brother during the encounter. She is battling for life at the ICU of SKIMS in Srinagar.

Following the killings, a spontaneous shutdown was observed in Shopian and Pulwama districts which entered into its fourth day today. To control the simmering situation, authorities have suspended mobile internet service in the twin districts of restive south Kashmir since Wednesday.

“Today in the morning, soldiers from an army unit went on a rampage in the village and tore down posters hailing the slain militant Firdous. This action agitated the local youth who targeted a convoy of 14 Rashtriya Rifles with stones later in the afternoon. The army men fired directly at the boys,” locals said.

Senior superintendent of police, Shopian, Shriram Ambarkar said an FIR has been registered against the Army. The Hurriyat has called for a shutdown tomorrow in the Valley against the civilian killings.

(Representational image )