SRINAGAR: Two civilians received bullet injuries after an altercation broke out between Army and locals during Zuhr (afternoon) prayers at Jamia Masjid in the Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Thursday.
An official told that the civilians identified as Abdul Ahad Mir and Mujeeb Ahmad Sofi of Handwara were injured in an accidental fire during an altercation between locals and the army.
He said that the 21 RR party of the army had gone to Jamia Masjid for filming the video of the Zuhr prayers to which some people objected resulting in a verbal dual between army and the civilians.
The official said that soon after the incident, the injured were shifted to SDH Handwara wherefrom they were shifted to Srinagar hospital for special treatment. Locals said that during the argument between civilians and army after they started clicking pictures of people outside the masjid to which locals of the area objected.
J&K Peoples Conference President Sajad Gani Lone also condemned the unfortunate incident and demanded an impartial probe.
“What a sorry state of affairs. One of the most peaceful towns Handwara at the receiving end. Hoping against hope the guilty are punished”, he said. He also prayed for the swift recovery of those injured in the unfortunate incident and expressed sympathies with the affected families.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) also condemned an incident of firing allegedly by Army personnel. “Security forces barging into religious places, profiling worshippers and shooting civilians at will without any fear of justice is the level of unaccountability pervasive across J&K. Rather than moving forward, Kashmir seems to have been taken back to 90s again,” a PDP spokesperson said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the defence spokesman in Srinagar Colonel Emron Musavi said that troops of 21 RR were on routine patrol in Handwara town. “In view of Iftar party planned by the army near the Town Chowk, the troops at about 1.30 PM took few photos of Jamia Masjid, Handwara to showcase happiness and offering of prayers during the holy month of Ramzan,” he said. “Thereafter they requested a local to get few photos from inside. It is when the local person was going to take photos, some rogue elements protested, and instigated others to get into an altercation with the troops.”
The defence spokesman said that while attempting to pacify them, two-three individuals got into a scuffle with the troops wherein there was an accidental discharge of the weapon, injuring two civilians identified as Abdul Ahad Mir of Rajwar and Mujeeb Ah Sofi of Handwara.
“The crowd was pacified and police in vicinity arrived to control the situation jointly. The crowd was subsequently dispersed and the market was opened for routine activity,” the spokesman said. “Both the injured civilians were evacuated to Dist Hosp, Handwara & are reported stable.”—(KNO)