Seven Army men including a Junior Commissioned Officer were injured in the Shopian incident

Tension gripped the Valley after two civilian were killed in an alleged firing by the Indian Army personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian on Saturday.

The incident took place in Ganawpora village of South Kashmir’s Shopian district, when the army men opened fire on a stone-pelting mob. Seven army men including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) were injured in the incident of the stone-pelting.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police has registered a case against the army troopers and the Mehbooba Mufti government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of separatists has called for Kashmir bandh on Sunday against the killings.

Superintendent of Police, Shopian, Ambarkar Shriram Dinkar, said the incident occurred when an army convoy of 10-Garhwal regiment was pelted upon near Ganawpora when it was moving towards Maspora. 

“It (convoy) had started from 12 sector headquarters and was moving towards Mastpora. There was stone pelting at the convoy near Ganawpora and they opened fire and injuring several civilians. Two of them later succumbed and the condition of third is critical and he has been referred to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Srinagar,” Shriram said.

The police have registered a case under relevant section of law against the Army. 

“We have lodged an FIR against the army. There was no general stone pelting. It was only when this convoy was passing that they were pelted upon,” Shriram added.

The Indian Army, however, said the mob tried to lynch an officer, snatch weapons and torch vehicles prompting them to open fire at Ganawpora.

“At about 3 pm, an army administrative convoy was passing through Ganawpura Chowk in Shopian when it came under unprovoked and intense stone pelting by a group of 100 to 120 stone pelters. Within no time, their numbers swelled to 200 to 250 persons. The crowd surrounded an isolated portion of the convoy consisting of four vehicles. They caused extensive damage to these vehicles and tried to set them on fire”, said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.

Colonel Kalia said a JCO accompanying the convoy was hit on the head and fell unconscious suffering serious injury and the mob tried to lynch the individual and snatch his weapon.

“The violent crowd further closed in towards the vehicles and attempted to set them on fire. Considering the extreme gravity of the situation the army was constrained to open fire in self-defence to prevent lynching of the JCO and burning of Government vehicle by the mob. A total of seven army men suffered injuries and extensive damage was caused to eleven vehicles. In the process two civilians succumbed to the bullet injuries”, he said.Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has spoken to Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and expressed anguish over the loss of lives in the incident.

"Every civilian killing, notwithstanding how erroneously made, impairs the political process in the State which has been put on track after hard work by all political parties", she said.

An official spokesman said Defence Minister assured the Chief Minister that she would seek a detailed report in this regard and would impress upon the field formations that mechanisms put in place are strictly adhered to so that such incidents do not recur in future.