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Probe Ordered as Police Claims Civilian Killed in "Crossfire" in South Kashmir

Anees Zargar |
As per the official version, the victim was caught in the middle of a crossfire between militants and security forces. Locals disagree with this version.

Srinagar: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday ordered an inquiry into the killing of a 20-year-old civilian, Shoiab Ahmad Ganie, who the police said was injured in crossfire between militants and security forces.

According to a police statement, a resident of Turkwangam village of Shopian, Ganie was caught in the middle of an encounter near a bridge that connects the Litter area of Pulwama with Turkwangam village. The militants had fired on a joint patrol party of 182 – Bn Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Special Operations Group (SOG) of the police but managed to flee the spot by retreating into orchards.

“He was referred to District Hospital, Pulwama for treatment where he succumbed to injuries,” the police said.

The police said they registered a case in the incident and have taken up an investigation. As the police continued the search for the attackers, Ganie’s killing – which the locals said was witnessed by many in the village – sent shockwaves in the area, triggering protests.

The locals, including the relatives of Ganie, refuted the official version and claimed that the youth was killed outside his shop by government forces in “cold blood”.

“He was near his shop and even raised his hands when he saw the forces, but they still shot him. We are too scared to send our children out of our homes, not knowing whether they would return or not,” a resident of Tukwangam, who claimed to be an eye-witness in the incident, said. The victim’s funeral rites, carried out late in the evening, were attended by hundreds of “agitated” mourners.

“One more unfortunate killing of an unarmed innocent civilian at Turkwangam, Shopian, Shoiab Ahmad Ganie. People are dissatisfied with the government version. We urge the administration to immediately order a credible probe so that guilty are identified and brought to book,” senior politician MY Tarigami said.

The locals took to the streets demanding justice for Ganie while raising anti-government slogans, following which Deputy Commissioner Shopian Sachin Kumar said that the incident would be investigated.

“Regarding today’s incident at Turkawangam, Shopian, a magisterial enquiry by Additional District Magistrate Shopian has been ordered. Suitable action under law shall be taken as soon as the report is received. I want to assure people as District Magistrate that the inquiry would be conducted and the action as warranted under the law would be taken,” he said in a video message.

The incident comes amidst a series of protests by the minority community in the region demanding security from the authorities after a 35-year-old Rahul Bhat was assassinated by suspected militants at his workplace in central Kashmir’s Budgam. This is the second civilian killing in South Kashmir since last week.

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