Two civilians killed in Kashmir firing, probe ordered (Lead)

February 22nd, 2009 - 12:01 am ICT by IANS  

Baramulla (Jammu and Kashmir), Feb 21 (IANS) Two civilians were killed and one critically wounded in indiscriminate firing by unidentified assailants in army uniforms in the Kashmir Valley Saturday evening, police and eyewitnesses said. The Jammu and Kashmir government ordered a probe into the incident.
Enraged over the civilian deaths, people alleged that the assailants, travelling in a vehicle of the counter-insurgency Rashtriya Rifles of the Indian Army, fired at a group of youth who were returning from a festival at a Sufi shrine in the area.

The incident occured in Bumie village area of north Kashmir’s Sopore town, 50 km from the summer capital Srinagar.

The deceased have been identified as Mohammed Amin Tantray and Firdous Ahmed Khwaja.

Tension gripped the area after the incident as agitated people pelted stones at the police and forced a shutdown of the entire township.

“Initial reports suggest some unidentified persons wearing army fatigues fired indiscriminately at a group of youth in the area resulting in the death of two and critical injuries to another,” said Abdul Gani Mir, deputy inspector general of police (North Kashmir range).

While locals alleged that the assailants were army soldiers, senior police officers maintained those responsible for the shootout were yet to be identified.

“We are ascertaining the facts of the incident,” Mir said.

The government immediately ordered a probe into the incident.

“Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has taken a serious note of the incident and ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. The probe would be completed within a fortnight,” Baramulla district magistrate Basheer Ahmad Khan told reporters.

“The sub-divisional magistrate of Sopore would carry out the enquiry,” he said.

Meanwhile, police and the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed in strength to control protesters in the sensitive Sopore town.

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