Restrictions have been imposed in parts of Srinagar and Kupwara districts following a tense situation over the killing of three persons in firing by security forces in Handwara, 85 kilometres from Srinagar on Tuesday. According to reports thus far, protests had erupted in Handwara town of Kupwara district over the allegations that one girl student, on her way home, was molested by soldiers posted in an army picket in the town. The girl has, meanwhile, denied that she was molested by any security personnel.
Two youth – Iqbal Ahmad and Naeem Bhatt, a promising cricketer, were killed when security forces, including J&K Police, fired upon the protestors allegedly in retaliation to the stone pelting by the protestors, who were in large numbers.
One 70-year-old woman, Raja Begum, who received severe wounds in the firing also succumbed to her injuries on Wednesday. There are reports of four other persons injured in the incident undergoing treatment at various hospitals.
Strongly condemning the incident, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has assured “exemplary” punishment to the security personnel responsible for the firing. Army too has initiated an enquiry into the incident.
On her first visit to New Delhi after taking over the CM of Jammu and Kashmir, Ms Mufti also raised the issue with Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who assured her that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished.
“I spoke to Defence Minister. He assured me that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished… At the same time the family will be compensated. Such incidents should not happen in the future,” she said after meeting Parrikar.
The Army, on its part, ordered an inquiry while the Jammu and Kashmir Police registered a criminal case and begun investigations into the incident which triggered more protests in Handwara and had an echo in Srinagar and Pulwama districts of Kashmir as well.
With tension prevailing following the call of bandh in the valley, restrictions were imposed early on Wednesday in six police station areas of Srinagar city and Handwara area of Kupwara. There are reports of separatist groups too calling for a strike against the killings.
Most of the shops, business establishments and petrol pumps were shut in areas other than those were restrictions have been imposed. Public transport was off the roads while private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying, the official said.
Besides, additional police personnel have been deployed in sensitive areas of the city to maintain law and order.
(With inputs from the Agencies)