Srinagar: Massive protests broke out in Bandipora district of Kashmir Valley on Sunday after security forces allegedly shot dead two youths.
      
In a swift action, Police filed an FIR against unknown army personnel under Section 302 IPC (murder) in connection with the deaths in the back-to-back episodes in Sumbal area. One youth was also injured in the firing, police said.
      
"Two youths have been killed in army firing this morning. It is a very unfortunate incident," Minister for Higher Education Mohammad Akbar Lone, who is also the local MLA, siad.
    
The deceased youths have been identified as Irfan Ahmad Ganaie and Irshad Ahmad Dar, both residents of Markundal village in Sumbal area.
      
Protests erupted at several places in Bandipora district in north Kashmir against the killings that took place at around 3.30 am amid allegations that the army firing was unprovoked.

Army orders inquiry
      
Army has begun an investigation into the incident.
    
"Investigation has been ordered into the incident. If any army personnel is found guilty, he will be dealt strictly," Major General RR Nimbodkar, the General Officer Commanding of the counter insurgency Victor Force, told reporters at Awanitpora headquarters.
      
An army official said while it had no hand in the killing of one youth, the other died when the troops opened firing in self defence as a mob tried to set an army ambulance afire.
    
"Based on intelligence inputs about movement of militants through the area, an ambush was laid. Firing shots were heard outside the cordon area and later it was found that one youth has been killed," the official said.
    
Another youth had sustained bullet injury in the firing incident, police said, adding he is out of danger.
    
The army official said some time later when an army ambulance was carrying doctors and some other staff through the area, a mob attacked it and tried to set the vehicle on
fire.
     
"The troops opened firing in self defence, which resulted in the death of the second youth," the official added.
     
Fresh protests broke out in Markundal, Naidkhai and Sumbal areas of the district after the burial of one of the youth, which left several persons injured including the Superintendent of Police Bashir Ahmad Khan.
     
A police spokesman said the situation has been brought under control.

Separatists condemn incident  

The separatists groups have condemned the incident and called for a Valley-wide shutdown in protest on Monday.
     
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also condemned the killings, saying, ‘Army’s firing in the area was totally unwarranted’.
     
"It reflected how deeply the culture of impunity had become entrenched in the state," PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said addressing a workers’ convention in Kulgam
district of south Kashmir.

(JPN/Agencies)

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