Kashmir Tense Over Civilian Killings

23 February 2009
The Hindu

Srinagar: Tension prevailed in the Kashmir Valley with protesters clashing with the police at many places, including here, Monday, three days after the alleged cold blooded murder of two civilians by the army in Sopore town. Violent clashes occurred at Srinagar and north Kashmir Sopore town for the third day resulting in injuries to over two dozen protesters and security men. The north Kashmir Sopore town remained closed, as protesters pelted stones at police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF). The security forces baton charged and fired tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters. In the Bumai village adjacent to the Sopore town where two youth were killed Saturday in alleged firing by troopers of 22 Rashtriya Rifles, villagers took to the streets demanding that the guilty soldiers be arrested and the army camp in the village immediately removed. In Baramulla town, police and CRPF had a tough time controlling the stone pelting protesters especially in the old area of the district headquarters. Protesters damaged a vehicle of the police in old city Srinagar where they clashed with the security men at Nowhatta, Bohri Kadal, Rajouri Kadal and Saraf Kadal areas. 'Around two dozen persons including some protesters and security men were injured in the day's protests across the city and in Baramulla district,' a police officer said here. The authorities have ordered a magisterial probe into the Saturday's shooting incident in Bumai village near Sopore. The police have registered an FIR against the army troopers who alleged fired upon a group of youth while they were returning home after attending a festival in the area. Hardline separatist leader and chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat group, Syed Ali Geelani, has called for a protest shutdown Wednesday against the Sopore killings.