The Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission on Thursday issued notices seeking detailed reports from Kulgam Deputy Commissioner Talat Parvez and Senior Superintendent of Police Sridhar Patel on the killings of four civilians in the district’s Khudwani village on Wednesday. They have till May 16 to submit their responses, Rising Kashmir reported.

The human rights commission asked the two senior police officers to explain under what circumstances the civilians were killed, and whether security personnel had followed the standard operational procedure to quell the protests that broke out near the site of a gunfight in Khudwani, where an Army solider was killed by suspected militants.

Local residents began to pelt stones security personnel – a joint team of the Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Special Operations Group and the Central Reserve Police Force – who were running a cordon-and-search operation in the village in Kulgam where they suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were in hiding. Around 40 civilians were injured in the clashes that ensued.

The state commission issued the order after hearing a petition filed by human rights activist Ahsan Untoo, the Kashmir Reader reported. Untoo has sought an investigation into the civilian deaths by the human rights panel. “Being near an encounter site does not justify the killings,” he said in his plea. “It has be properly investigated, and the killers must be punished under law.”