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After three youths shot down in January, security forces kills four more civilians in Kashmir

By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter

Srinagar: Even as the magisterial probe in the killing of three civilians by security forces in Shopian district of Kashmir on January 27 this year is yet to complete, four more civilians were killed on Sunday, March 4 during an encounter between militants and army in Pahnoo village of the same district.

The police have claimed that the security forces were fired upon from a vehicle leading them to retaliate in which a militant and three individuals who were accompanying the militant in the vehicle also succumbed to their injuries. The army has claimed that the civilians were over ground workers (OGW) of a militant organisation, while family members have negated the claims and alleged army of killing them in cold-blooded murder.

On Monday morning, another dead body of a local youth was found 250 metres from the encounter site, taking the toll of civilian killings to four.

The latest incident comes 36 days after three young men were killed in army firing in Ganawpora village of Shopian district of Kashmir on January 27. The families had alleged that the killings were targeted and unprovoked.

The government had appointed a magistrate to conduct an inquiry and complete the probe in 20 days which was later given an extension of seven days on February 16, but the report is yet to see the light of the day.

The latest killings have brought Kashmir on edge with a complete one-day shutdown being observed across Kashmir on the call given by Joint resistance leadership led by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Malik. At the time of writing this story, the protest rallies are being held across different villages and towns in Kashmir.

The government has shut high-speed internet across the valley and reduced its speed to 2G. All the schools and colleges have been closed while exams which were scheduled for Monday have been postponed.

J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has also expressed anguish over the killings.

“Deeply distressed by more deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire in Shopian. My heartfelt condolences to the deceased’s families,” she wrote on Twitter.

PDP legislator from Shopian Mohammad Yousuf Bhat said that killings have “tendency to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere”.

“When your heart bleeds & you are emotionally amputated, no condemnation is enough. I have no words to condemn these killings at Shopian. No circumstances can justify these civilian killings which can further the tendency to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere,” Bhat wrote on his party’s Twitter handle.

While National Conference has said that killings cannot be justified with an arbitrary, unproven pronouncement of the youth being OGWs and sought a probe into the incident.