March 2018 News

Shopian Remains Shut On 4th Day

8 March 2018
Kashmir Observer


Srinagar: The southern district of Shopian remained shut down in mourning for the fourth day running on Thursday following the killing of four civilians and two militants early this week. Shops, businesses and private and government offices remained closed, and public transport stayed off the roads. Authorities kept internet services in the district suspended for the fourth day since snapping them on Monday. Large contingents of forces personnel were deployed on roads and sensitive areas to thwart any chances of violence. People in large numbers visited the homes of the slain civilians and militants to offer condolence and express solidarity with the bereaved families. The rest of the Valley had been shut down along with Shopian on Wednesday due to a strike and a government clamp down on a march to the southern township announced by the Joint Resistance Leadership. Normal life has been totally suspended in the district since four young civilians and two militants were killed in the Pahnoo area due to army firing on Sunday evening. Claiming that the civilians were accompanying the militants, the army said that it had retaliated in kind after a contingent came under fire from the group travelling in two private cars. Bodies of three civilians and one militant had been recovered the same night, while those of the fourth civilian and another militant were found the next morning. The families of the slain youth have strongly contested the army's claims about the civilians accompanying the militants and having been their over ground workers (OGWs). Locals maintain that the four civilians were killed in cold blood. The district police has said that it is investigating the case. Opposition National Conference working President Omar Abdullah on Thursday asked the government to reveal facts regarding Sunday's firing incident in Shopian district of south Kashmir which six persons, four of them civilians, were killed. 'We have said that this incident should be probed thoroughly because there is a difference between what the army has said and the statement which came from the government. People want (to know) the truth and that is our demand. If there is some mistake, it should be accounted for,' Omar told reporters at Anantnag in south Kashmir. On Sunday, one militant and three civilians - who the army claimed were overground workers (OGWs) of militants - were killed in army firing after a mobile vehicle check post (MVCP) of 54 Rashtriya Rifles was fired at. The body of another civilian, Gowhar Ahmad Lone, 24, was also found on Monday morning, some 250 metres away the gunfight site. Lone was found dead behind the steering wheel of his car (bearing registration number JK01Q- 1723). The J&K police recovered the body of another militant, identified as Ashiq Hussain Bhat of Lashkar-e-Taiba, seven km from Pahnoo where the Army had fired upon two vehicles. The Army claimed that the slain youths were militants and their associates. However, the villagers refuted the army claim and said the slain men were civilians and not OGWs.

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