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Shutdown in Kashmir today over killing of civilians

A soldier checks the identity of a civilian during curfew in Srinagar on Tuesday. Photo: AP   | Photo Credit: Mukhtar Khan

All major separatist leaders have called for a shutdown in Kashmir on Wednesday in protest against the killings of two civilians by the Army in Chattargam. Police sources said curfew would be imposed in several parts of Srinagar again.

Heavy restrictions have been imposed in several areas of the city. “There were going to be restrictions anyway for the Muharram processions but the government had to be stricter in view of the killings. We did not want a law and order situation with stone-throwing spilling outside Nowgam,” a senior police officer said. “When the bodies of the boys arrived in the morning, we took them to Nowgam Square because we did not want to bury them so fast. We wanted to carry the dead and show the people how our children are being killed,” said Mohammad Yaqoob, a protester.

All mainstream political parties offered condolences and condemned the killings. “Such killings have no place in an otherwise improving security environment where militancy incidents are at record low levels. These deaths have served to vitiate the poll atmosphere already strained by the post-flood reconstruction challenge that people face,” Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.

The Army issued a statement saying it had acted fast to treat the injured at their hospital and were investigating the firing. “[The] Army has moved with unprecedented speed to initiate investigations. The GOC, Chinar Corps, has promised that justice will be done,” the Army said.

It said its personnel were in touch with the families of the deceased. The families, however, denied that the Army had contacted them.

“I have spoken to the Defence Minister to ensure a probe, but unfortunately, from my past experience, I know that the Army will invoke AFSPA to protect itself and evade justice. I have been fighting for partial revocation of AFSPA and this incident has again made it clear why the country should think hard and long about it, ” Mr. Abdullah told The Hindu.

He questioned the Army’s action to shoot at the car when they could have used other measures to stop the vehicle. “How many bullets will you fire at a suspected vehicle that doesn’t stop at a checkpoint or how much does it cost to spread a strip with nails that is used to deflate tyres at checkpoints.”

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 3:22:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/shutdown-in-kashmir-today-over-killing-of-civilians/article6564571.ece

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