Shopian Under Curfew For 10th Consecutive Day

Shopian Under Curfew For 10th Consecutive Day

16 September 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Suhail A Shah

Anantnag: Curfew continued in Shopian district, 50 km south-east of Srinagar, for the 10th consecutive day today while restrictions were relaxed in Kulgam and Pulwama districts of south Kashmir. Sources said police and CRPF personnel were deployed in strength in Shopian town. The police had erected barricades and laid concertina wires on the main entry and exit points to prevent any kind of movement. Curfew was imposed in Shopian town and its adjoining areas on September 7 after CRPF personnel from 14th Battalion allegedly shot dead four persons in the Gagran area of Shopian district. While the CRPF maintained that the slain persons were militants, who had attacked their camp, the police said three of them were civilians with no militant links. The police had claimed that the fourth slain person, still unidentified, might be a Pakistani national and a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative. However, the police has come under severe criticism from civil society groups and mainstream politicians, who claim that the alleged Lashkar operative was a non-local labourer. Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Prasad visited the CRPF camp in Gagran yesterday and recorded the statements of CRPF personnel and the Commandant of the camp. “He heard their version of the shootout and recorded their statements,” a police source said. Following the killings, another civilian was killed allegedly by CRPF personnel of the same battalion on September 11. Amid public pressure, the state Cabinet, on September 12, ordered a probe into the killings. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Shailendra Kumar appointed Deputy Commissioner, Shopian, Bashir Ahmad Bhat as the inquiry officer of the probe. “I have issued a public notice and asked the people, with any information about the killings, to depose in my office from September 16 to 21,” the Shopian Deputy Commissioner said on Saturday. The DGP, on his visit to the Gagran camp, also discussed the modalities of the shifting the camp. “He visited two probable sites, one in Pulwama and another in Shopian,” a senior police officer from the area said. “These two sites are being considered for the new sites for the camp in Gagran.” Meanwhile, locals in the curfew-bound Shopian said they were running short of essentials such as medicine and baby food. “The district administration is taking no care to address the shortage of essentials,” a local said. The Shopian Deputy Commissioner, however, maintained that due care was being taken to ensure the supply of essential items.