Army imposes curfew after four civilians die in Jammu & Kashmir district



The army on 13 April imposed curfew on north Kashmir’s trouble-torn Handwara town, 85 kim from Srinagar, where its personnel had killed four persons, including a budding cricketer, and injured three others.

While this was so, a teenage Kashmiri girl, who was reportedly molested by a soldier, has denied the allegation and blamed local boys of harassing her and resorting to mob rioting, leading to the killing of four persons.

The deceased have been identified as Mohammad Iqbal, 22, Nayeem Qadir Bhat, 24 and Raja Begum, 54. Nayeem was recently selected for the Under19 team by the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association.

Earlier in the day, several protesters opposed an alleged attempt by a soldier to molest a teenage girl. Locals took to the streets alleging the girl was molested by armymen when she entered a public washroom. Chanting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, they attacked the bunker of 21 Rashtriya Rifles and set it on fire.

The killing had ignited a fresh wave of anger in against the army in Kashmir. The separatists have called for a complete shutdown on 13 April, even as the state government has ordered a magisterial investigation into the incident.

Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has condemned the killings in strong words and said those involved in the incident would be punished.

She said such incidents would have a negative impact on the the political leadership and the government’s efforts to consolidate peace efforts in the Valley.

Jammu and Kashmir IGP SJM Gillani said the police were yet to record the girl’s complete statement. He said, two persons were injured, who later succumbed, when the crowds rushed to attack the bunker.

As far as the girl is concerned, Gillani said she has taken up the issue with Indian Army’s Northern Command Chief Lt Gen DS Hooda. He said that the army has told her that they had ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Meanwhile, the state authorities have imposed curfew-like restrictions in sensitive areas in Srinagar.