Kashmir scuffle claims civilian, soldier; Antony promises action


Srinagar/Thiruvananthapuram : Defence Minister A.K. Antony said action would be taken against those found guilty after a scuffle between two Indian Army soldiers and residents of a Kashmir town Thursday claimed the life of a civilian while one of the soldiers later killed himself.

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Residents of Kangan town, 35 km north of Srinagar, said they had caught the two soldiers red handed when they were trying to molest a girl, but police denied their version.

The residents said the soldiers fired at them when they tried to intervene and save the girl. The firing killed one civilian and wounded another, while one of the soldiers was injured in the melee.

The wounded solider of the 24 Rashtriya Rifles was removed to the army camp nearby where he shot himself dead, police said.

Police said there seemed to be "some understanding" between the girl and the two soldiers.

"We have taken the girl in custody. We have booked a case and investigations are on," a police official said.

Army authorities refused to comment on the incident, even as the whereabouts of the second soldier was not known.

Speaking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram, Antony said: "Action will be taken against whoever has done anything wrong. The issue is being looked into."

An angry crowd later blocked the path of the Amarnath Cave Shrine pilgrimage that passes through the town while the administration was making efforts to lift the blockade.

In another incident Thursday, two children were killed in a blast in Kupwara district of north Kashmir when they fiddled with a live shell lying in a field. While one child died on the spot, the other succumbed to injuries in the hospital, police said.