Images News Netwok

Two civilians sustain bullet injuries during altercation with army in Handwara

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Political parties condemn, demand guilty be punished

Srinagar: Two persons were injured in an “accidental discharge of weapons” by Army personnel during an altercation with worshippers outside a mosque in north Kashmir’s Handwara area on Thursday, officials said here.

The altercation broke out between the worshippers, who were coming out of a mosque in Handwara town of Kupwara district, and the Army personnel, who were recording videos, they said.

A defence spokesperson said two civilians were injured in an “accidental discharge of weapons” during a scuffle between the soldiers and protesters.

The injured were identified as Abdul Ahad Mir and Mujeeb Ahmad Sofi, the officials said, adding that they were rushed to the SKIMS hospital at Soura here.

“Troops of 21 Rashtriya Rifles were on a routine patrol in Handwara town. In view of an Iftar party planned by the Army near the Town Chowk, the troops took a few photos of the Jamia Masjid in Handwara at about 1.30 pm to showcase happiness and offering of prayers during the holy month of Ramzan,” the spokesperson said, adding that they also requested a local resident to get a few photos clicked from inside the mosque.

“When he was going to take the photos, some rogue elements protested and instigated others to get into an altercation with the troops. While attempting to pacify them, two-three individuals got into a scuffle with the troops, wherein there was an accidental discharge of weapons, injuring two civilians,” he said.

Political parties condemned the incident, with People’s Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone, who hails from Handwara, claiming that it was a result of the “sorry state of affairs” prevailing in the Union Territory.

“What a sorry state of affairs. One of the most peaceful towns Handwara at the receiving end. Hoping against hope the guilty are punished,” he said in a tweet.

Lone, as per a party press release, condemned the incident of “security forces firing on civilians inside the mosque premises in Handwara” and demanded an impartial probe into the unfortunate incident.

Expressing anguish over the incident, Lone hoped that erring security forces are held accountable and strict punishment is meted out to those found responsible.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti expressed dismay and shock over the incident.

Hitting out at the security forces for “barging” into a religious place, “profiling” worshippers and “shooting civilians at will without any fear of justice”, she said such incidents highlight the level of unaccountability pervasive across institutions in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Government of India’s interference in religious matters by its unwarranted surveillance of a simple act of offering prayers shows that Kashmiris pay dearly for the illusion of Naya Kashmir,” the former chief minister said in a tweet.

National Conference also condemned the “unfortunate incident of security forces firing on civilians inside the mosque premises” in Handwara and demanded an impartial and time-bound probe into it.

While expressing anguish over the incident, party MP Mohammad Akbar Lone, senior leaders Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan and Shariefudin Shariq condemned the incident in unequivocal terms, a party press release said, adding that they demanded that erring security forces are held accountable and strict punishment is meted out to those found guilty.

“The incident deflates the claims of the government on zero tolerance for human rights violations. Such an incident would only decrease the prospects of lasting peace and prosperity in J&K. Such incidents would only ferment alienation rather than decrease it. As the varied versions of the incident are coming forth, it is for the government to clear the air and establish the circumstances that led to the altercation,” NC leaders said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *