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Normalcy returns to Kashmir Valley after protests, shutdown over Shopian firing

07 March 2018

An Army spokesman on Sunday night had said a terrorist and three "overground workers" were killed as the Army retaliated when its "mobile vehicle check post" (MVCP) was sacked upon by the ultras at Pahnoo in Shopian.

Reports suggest that a group of rebels fired towards the army which was retaliated resulting in the killing of a militant, who was identified as Shahid Mushtaq, son of Mushtaq Ahmad of Jamnagri area of south Kashmir.

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 the night of March 4, security forces had killed a militant and three youths in a shootout after the mobile check post of the army was sacked upon. "When police was called in, they found a vehicle some distance away in which another boy was found dead", he said. Six persons including two militants have been killed in Sunday night's shootout in Shopian's Pahnoo area.

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"The varying accounts from the Chief Minister and the security forces on the incident are unfortunate and further perpetuate the sense of disenchantment, distrust and alienation", said former chief minister Omar Abdullah.

The killings have triggered outrage in the Valley. Demanding a probe in the incident, NC's official spokesperson said, "The Shopian killings can not be justified with an arbitrary, unproven pronouncement of the youth being OGWs". In a statement, the JKPCC described the killings as highly painful and said the people were not satisfied with the Army's version. "They were definitely civilians and it is a matter of investigation as to what extent they were involved in supporting terrorists", said Brigadier Harbir Singh of 12 Sector Rashtriya Rifles (RR). Mobile and train services have also been suspended for security reasons.

Examinations for various classes by J&K School Board and Kashmir University have also been postponed. The circular issued by the government led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti stated that educational institutions will resume their functioning from Thursday. He has been identified as Gowhar Ahmed Lone of Molu-Chitragam village of Shopian. Under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, army and paramilitary officers can search homes and make arrests without warrants, shoot at people suspected of being separatists and blow up buildings or homes on suspicion that insurgents are using them.

Normalcy returns to Kashmir Valley after protests, shutdown over Shopian firing