The District Magistrate of Shopian will start recording the statement of witnesses from Monday in the killings of five persons in last week’s CRPF firing, an official spokesman said.

“Any person having knowledge about the firing incidents which took place at Gagran in Shopian on September 7 (in which four persons were killed) and September 11 (leading to death of one youth) and desiring to share such information with the inquiry officer can do so from September 16 to September 21,” the spokesman said on Sunday.

The witnesses can depose before the District Magistrate, who has been appointed as the inquiry officer, in his office chamber orally or in writing in the form of an affidavit.

The CRPF had claimed that its camp at Gagran in Shopian was attacked on September 7 and the casualties (four persons) took place in retaliatory firing.

The police, however, said three of the slain youth were local residents and had no links to militancy.

The fourth youth -- who is yet to be identified -- was believed to be a Pakistani militant Abdullah Haroon.

Local residents, separatists and civil society groups contested the police claim about the identity of the fourth person and claimed that he was a non-kashmiri labourer.

The state government on Friday directed the police to establish the identity of the fourth slain youth within 48 hours or it “may order an inquiry into the incident by a sitting High Court judge”.

To ascertain the identity of the fourth deceased, police have decided to send the mobile phone and SIM card recovered from him for technical analysis to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, Shopian Deputy Commissioner Bashir Ahmad Bhat held a meeting with elders and respectable citizens of the district.

He assured them that the inquiry shall conducted be in a fair and transparent manner in the shortest possible time.

Mr. Bhat also assured them of assistance to the needy people, besides ensuring adequate availability of essential items.

Barring Wednesday, Shopian has been under curfew since September 8 and the south Kashmir town has been seething with anger.

The state government has conceded the demand of people to remove the CRPF personnel from the camp at Gagran, but the residents want the erring personnel to be arrested and punished for the “cold-blooded murder” of the five youths.