SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Indian army allegedly shot dead two youth and wounded three others in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said Sunday.
The killings took place in village Markundal, Sumbal of Bandipora district, around 38 km north of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The killings have triggered massive anti-India demonstrations in the area, with locals including women and children demanding punishment to erring troopers.
On Saturday night 18-year-old Irfan Ahmad Ganaie, a student, was killed by troopers stationed in Safapora village. "Family members say Army troopers knocked their door last night. Without realizing the presence of army, Irfan came out to raise alarm about possibility of thieves in the locality," said Abdul Rehman , uncle of Ganaie. "Army fired several gun shots on Irfan and killed him on spot."
The killing evoked resentment in the neighbourhood and residents tried to came out.According to locals troopers fired hundreds of warning shots and laid siege around the village during the night to confine people inside their houses. "Body of Irfan was lying in a pool of blood outside his house for the whole night and troopers didn't allow us to lift the body," said Rehman. The irate villagers took to roads early Sunday and started protesting against the troops.
Locals said Army troopers fire on the protesters, killing another youth Irshad Ahmed Dar (25) and wounding three others. New Delhi has imposed the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the region, which gives extraordinary powers to its troops such as shooting a person on mere suspicion.
Indian army is tight lipped over the matter and is likely to hold a press briefing in this regard.
However a minister in local government has regretted the civilian killings. "It is an unfortunate incident that army had not taken assistance of local police to launch the search operation in the village," said Mohammad Akbar Lone, minister of Higher Education.
Police officials said they were verifying the facts about the incident. "We are talking to the people to ascertain the facts," said J P Singh, a senior police official.
Indian troops are consistently accused of carrying out grave human rights violations in the region during the last more than two decades.
Separatists demanding end of India rule have been asking the withdrawal of troops and scrapping of their special powers. They have even made it a pre-condition for entering into formal talks with New Delhi.
Indian-controlled Kashmir is considered as one of the highest militarized regions in the world. Officially India does not reveal the actual number of its troops deployed in Kashmir. Rights groups say that India has deployed more than 700,000 troopers and paramilitary troopers in the region to fight militants.
A guerrilla war is also going on between militants and Indian troops stationed in the region since 1989. Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan is claimed by both in full. Since their Independence from British, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.