Ten injured in Kashmir clashes over civilian killings (Roundup)

Srinagar/New Delhi, May 29 (Calcutta Tube) Ten people, including three policemen, were injured in clashes between protestors and police in north Kashmir’s Nadihal village where three civilians killed in an alleged staged shootout were buried Saturday. An Indian Army major and four others, including a Territorial Army soldier, have been booked for the killings.

‘Protesters came out pelting stones on the deployed police and blocked the highway in Nadihal village of north Kashmir’s Sopore district,’ a senior police officer said here.

‘The police used batons and tear smoke canisters to disperse the unruly protesters,’ the officer said.

Protesters also pelted stones on the police in north Kashmir’s Baramulla town and the Habba Kadal area of summer capital Srinagar.

Meanwhile, an Indian Army major and four other people, including a territorial army soldier, were booked for the murder of the three civilians April 30, police said.

In New Delhi, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said that the issue was being ‘seriously’ probed and no one would be spared if found guilty.

‘With the Kashmir government already enquiring into the fake encounter case, we will cooperate in the probe. The army is also enquiring seriously. Nobody will be spared,’ he said.

The bodies of the three civilians — Shahzad Ahmad Khan, Riyaz Ahmad Lone and Muhammad Shafi Lone — were Friday exhumed from a graveyard in Kalaroos village of Kupwara district and identified by their relatives in the presence of a magistrate.

Bashir Ahmad, a former special police officer, and his accomplice Fayaz Ahmad, were arrested for the disappearance of the three men belonging to Nadihal village in Rafiabad of north Kashmir.

Abbas Hussain Shah, a soldier of the Territorial Army, who police said is the kingpin of the conspiracy, was also arrested Saturday.

‘Sustained interrogation of Lone and Ahmad unravelled the entire conspiracy. Abbas Hussain Shah, a jawan of the Territorial Army, is the kingpin of this nefarious conspiracy,’ a senior police officer told IANS in Srinagar.

‘He, on the behest of an army officer (major), conspired with Lone, Ahmad and Abdul Hamid Bhat to lure the three civilians. They were promised a wage of Rs.2,000 per day for working as porters for the army in the Machil sector of the Line of Control (LOC) where the unit of the involved major was posted,’ he said.

‘After they fell into Hussain’s trap, the three civilians were taken to Sogam village in Kupwara where a vehicle was waiting for them to be taken to the LOC for the fake gun battle,’ he added.

The protests in Kashmir were held during a shutdown called by senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani against the visit of Congress president Sonia Gandhi to the state Saturday.

Geelani, who had been detained in a Srinagar police station, was later shifted to the Srinagar central jail.

Authorities also placed Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate separatist Hurriyat Conference, under house arrest to prevent his participation in the protests.

Former chief minister and patron of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, while addressing a media conference in Srinagar Saturday, said: ‘I wonder whether fake encounters are staged for medals and rewards or to strengthen the argument in support of continuation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.’

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