Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: Two civilians were killed and one seriously injured after troops of Rashtriya Rifles allegedly opened unprovoked fire at a group of people in Bomai area near Sopore in north Kashmir on Saturday evening. After the incident massive protests erupted in the area.

Reports reaching here said that troops of 22 Rashtriya Rifles opened indiscriminate fire, allegedly without any provocation, on a group of people who were part of a festival of a revered Saint’s shrine in Bomai. Deputy Inspector General of Police north Kashmir range Abdul Gani Mir told The Hindu that two deaths of civilians have taken place and one person is injured. “I am on move to the spot and will be in a position to give details only after ascertaining what happened on the ground. But this is a fact that firing has taken place”, he said.

No firing

Locals who spoke to The Hindu on phone said that there was no firing from any side. “The Army firing was totally unprovoked and they opened fire at unarmed civilians who were engaged in a gossip” said Manzoor Ahmad a resident. Those who died in the incident have been identified as Muhammad Amin Tantray and Javaid Ahmad and Firdous Ahmad Khawaja was injured. Khawaja, sources said was rushed to the nearby hospital, but due to the grave injuries doctors referred him to Soura Medical Institute. No official of army was available for the comment despite repeated attempts.

Massive protest

Soon after the news about the incident spread in the area, thousands of people including women and children took to streets and staged a massive protest against the troops. Chanting slogans in favour of Islam and freedom, the protesters were demand ‘instant’ punishment to the erring troopers.

Police and Central Reserve Police Force were deployed in the area in strength.