Two civilians were killed and several were injured in clashes with security forces in South Kashmir’s Shopian on Saturday. Several were injured during the protests. While acknowledging that the civilians succumbed to bullet injuries, the Army claimed it was forced to open fire on the protestors in self defence.

The deceased have been identified as twenty-year-old Javid Ahmad Bhat and twenty-four-year-old Suhail Javid Lone, Greater Kashmir reported. The Chief Medical Officer confirmed the number of casualties.

Around 100 protestors hurled stones at an Army administrative convoy that was passing through Ganaupura chowk in Shopian, the Army said in a statement. “Within no time, their [the crowd’s] numbers swelled to 200-250 persons,” the statement said while adding that the protestors tried to set four vehicles ablaze. “A junior commissioned officer accompanying the convoy got hit on the head and fell unconscious suffering serious injury. The mob tried to lynch the individual and snatch his weapon. Considering the extreme gravity of the situation the army was constrained to open fire in self defence.”

Seven Army personnel sustained injuries and eleven vehicles were damaged in the clash, the statement said.

Locals started fresh protests after the security personnel resorted to firing at the civilians.

An FIR has been registered against the Army, Shopian Senior Superintendent of Police Shriram Ambarkar told the local daily.