Five troopers held for Kashmir firing death (Second Lead)

January 2nd, 2012 - 8:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar/Jammu, Jan 2 (IANS) One person was killed and two others were injured Monday when Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) troopers opened fire at people protesting power shortage at a Jammu and Kashmir village, officials said. Five CISF personnel have been arrested in the case.

The firing took place in Baramulla district’s Boniyar village, 60 km north of summer capital Srinagar, when scores of villagers angry at the long hours of power outages took to the streets and later gathered near the local power station, police said.

CISF personnel guarding the station opened fire, killing one protester on the spot and wounding two others.

The incident triggered tension in the area and senior civil and police officers have rushed to the spot.

Principal Secretary (Home) B.R. Sharma told reporters in Jammu that five CISF men, including Sub-Inspector Krishan Thappa, have been arrested and a first information report (FIR) lodged with the police.

“The incident could have been avoided if CISF men had co-ordination with state police,” he added.

The Omar Abdullah government has expressed its “deep regret on the tragic firing incident,” an official spokesman said.

“Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF), whose troopers opened the fire, are not a part of the CI (Counter Insurgency) grid operating in Jammu and Kashmir and have been hired by the NHPC (National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) exclusively for the security of their installations across the state, and are not under the operational command of either the unified headquarters or the state government,” he said.

The spokesman said that the state government has taken up the matter with the union home ministry, lodging a serious protest and demanding stern, exemplary action against the officers responsible for the firing incident.

The chief minister has dispatched a team comprising Public Health Engineering Minister Taj Mohiuddin, Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani and Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda to the village.

The Kashmir Valley has been facing an acute power shortage that the state government attributes to low water flows in the major rivers here and power pilferage by the consumers. Protests have been seen in Srinagar and other towns in the valley.

“The (power supply) situation is not likely to improve till the beginning of March,” said an official of the power development department.

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