The Indian Army on Wednesday filed a counter FIR in response to the First Information Report lodged by the Jammu and Kashmir police over the death of two civilians in Shopian district on Saturday, ANI reported. A third civilian hit by a bullet when the Army fired on protestors in the district died of his injuries on Wednesday, the Greater Kashmir reported.
A top Army commander in Jammu and Kashmir said that the soldiers were “provoked to the ultimate”. The Jammu and Kashmir police had filed a case against the Army’s 10th Garhwal Rifles unit, which was involved in the incident. The unit has been booked for murder and attempt to murder.
The 23-year-old man who died on Wednesday, Rayees Ahmed Ganai, was a resident of the Narpora village. He was taken to the Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Srinagar soon after the firing on January 27, with a bullet injury in the head, the Hindustan Times reported.
Two others, 20-year-old Javid Ahmad Bhat and 24-year-old Suhail Javid Lone, had died in the firing. The Army had claimed a day later that it was forced to open fire on the civilians in self defence as they pelted stones at a convoy and injured officers.
Restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar following the firing and the district administration ordered an inquiry.
On Monday, the Bharatiya Janata Party had demanded the withdrawal of the FIR registered against Army men. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, however, dismissed the BJP’s concern that the government’s move would demoralise the Army, and said the FIR would be taken to its logical conclusion.
“I do not think the Army will be demoralised by a single FIR,” Mufti said. “Army is an institution and it has played a good role but there can be black sheep.”
Meanwhile, separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik on Wednesday called for a solidarity march to Shopian on February 2, Greater Kashmir reported. Malik made the announcement since the authorities have put Geelani and Farooq under house arrest.