The Indian army has expressed regret over the death of four civilians in an incident on Monday when troops “were forced to open fire when a large mob turned violent.”
A police spokesman, giving details of the incident, said an army mobile patrol party opened fire at an unruly stone-pelting mob in Kashmir’s Churaht Qazigund area when troops had been trying to clear a road blockade.
[caption id="attachment_6600" align="alignnone" width="840"] Indian policemen stand next to a burning handcart set on fire by demonstrators during a protest in Srinagar against the recent killings in Kashmir, July 18 [REUTERS/Danish Ismail]
[/caption]Four persons, including two women, were killed and seven others injured in the incident.
"An inquiry has been ordered into the incident," NDTV quotes a defence spokesperson as saying.
The number of casualties reached to 43 as of Tuesday since the beginning of the violence more than a week ago over the death of a popular insurgent, even as curfew remained in force in the Valley.
The spokesperson said the Army will provide all possible assistance to the bereaved families and to those injured in the "unfortunate" incident on Monday.
"The Army deeply regrets, the unfortunate loss of life in the incident at Churat, Qaziund where the troops were forced to open fire yesterday when a large mob turned violent, resorting to heavy stone pelting and attempted to snatch weapons from the soldiers," the spokesperson said.
The Indian Army also appealed to the people to maintain peace and refrain from attacking security forces or their vehicles. "Army today appealed to the people to maintain peace and refrain from attacking security forces or their vehicles or establishments thus creating situations where the security forces are left with no option but to retaliate in self defence," the spokesman added.
"The security squad while removing the obstructions came under heavy stone pelting by the miscreants from two sides. The Army party warned the mob to maintain distance but it did not relent.
"Some miscreants tried to snatch weapons from them and tried to set ablaze the vehicles. Despite repeated warnings the mob did not disperse and army fired in self-defence in an effort to move out from the spot," the spokesman said, adding six persons were injured in the incident out of which two had succumbed last night.
[caption id="attachment_6601" align="alignnone" width="720"] A man shows medicine to an Indian policeman after he was stopped by the police during a curfew in Srinagar July 15 [REUTERS/Danish Ismail]
[/caption]Curfew, meanwhile, remained in force across the 10 districts of the Valley as there was no sign of deadly clashes between protestors and security forces ending.
The clashes began soon after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.
Normal life also remained paralysed for the 11th day on Tuesday due to separatist sponsored strike, which has now been extended till July 22.
Mobile telephone services and internet services also remained shut while newspapers failed to hit stands for the fourth day.