'Army Took Route Against Police Advice' Says CM, Hurriyat Demands UN Probe
Kashmir burns post death of 2 youth in Army firing
SRINAGAR: The fresh spree of civilian killings created uproar in the Jammu and Kashmir legislature, which is in its budget session, with protests erupting in parts of Kashmir. The Hurriyat demanded a UN-led probe into the issue during a protest in Srinagar on Monday.
Activists and middle-rung leaders of the joint Hurriyat Conference surfaced in Srinagar’s Abi Guzar locality, adjoining Lal Chowk, the city’s largest marketplace, Monday afternoon to protest the latest killing of two civilians in army firing in Shopian district last week.
“On one hand, the government talks of dialogue while security forces are waging a full blown war against the people of Kashmir. The government has no moral authority to investigate the issue and thus we are demanding a probe by UN,” the Hurriyat leaders said.
Violent clashes erupted in parts of south Kashmir including in Murran and Keller villages where protesters hurled stones at security forces deployed in the area. Reports said youth took to the streets to protest against the killing of two civilians in Army firing in Ganowpora on Saturday which was met with teargas shelling. However, there are no reports of any injuries.
Putting up a brave face in the legislature, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti termed the killing of Javed Bhat and Suhail Lone in Ganawpora as “unfortunate” while snubbing her alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party which had justified the Army action.
“The investigation into Shopian civilian killings would be taken to its logical conclusion,” Mufti said while speaking in the legislative assembly, “The Army would not be demoralized by registration of single FIR but it is also possible that there are black sheep in the Army also,” she told the house on Monday.
The Chief Minister's statement comes as the deputy commissioner of Shopian appealed people to record their statement before the inquiry commission which is being conducted by Additional Commissioner of the district.
Mehbooba Mufti also revealed that the J&K police had advised the army against moving along Gawanpora route in Shopian where a civilian and two militants were killed in an encounter earlier in the week.
Responding to the CM’s remarks, National Conference’s Omar Abdullah accused the chief minister of “playing politics on dead bodies” while targeting the government over the issue of civilian killings.
“She only knows how to play politics over dead bodies,” the former chief minister said, said after he CM targeted him and his party, National Conference, during her speech in the assembly. However, “my party will support whatever measures the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti will take to end the cycle of bloodshed and violence in Kashmir,” he added.
Earlier, the BJP had demanded that the FIR lodged against the army in the case must be withdrawn. “The government should withdraw the FIR against the Army personnel and lodge a fresh FIR without naming anybody,” BJP’s RS Pathania said while speaking in the Assembly.
Yesterday, defending the Army action, BJP leader, Ravinder Raina, had boasted that the police FIR against the Army unit accused in the matter, will have no bearing on the case as the armed forces in Kashmir enjoy impunity under AFSPA.
The J&K government has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident which has been asked to file its report within 20 days. Police has also filed a murder case against the army unit. But rights activists says such probes rarely lead to punishment of the culprits.
“At least 180 probes were ordered by the J&K government with little or no justice since 2003. These announcements serve the purpose of an ‘official cover up’ as the outcome doesn’t lead to prosecution of accused. Blaming the slain persons for their murder is the standard operating procedure of the government,” Khurram Pervez, a prominent rights activist in Kashmir, said.