Four girls were injured, one of them critically, after soldiers fired into a gathering of villagers who were objecting to the army setting up a stall for Iftaar in Shopian on Monday.
Greater Kashmir learnt 34 Rashtriya Rifles battalion of the army had set up an Iftaar refreshment stall outside a mosque in DK Pora, Imam Sahab area of Shopian.
However, local residents said they objected to the stall set up by the army without informing them.
This triggered a heated exchange between the
people and the involved soldiers, which soon morphed into a protest. The people were asking the soldiers to remove the stall and made announcements from mosque loudspeakers.
Following the announcement, the residents, including women and children, came out of their homes and joined the protest.
The soldiers opened fire, injuring the four girls, including 15-year-old Shobi Jan daughter of Abdul QayoomHajam who was rushed to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar, Soura, for treatment. She sustained a bullet injury in her shoulder.
Two seriously injured girls identified as Aqsa Jan daughter Mohammad AyoubMagray and Shobi Jan daughter of Abdul QayoomHajam (right arm) have been referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment. Shobi has right arm bullet injury.
Sisters Shakira Akther (17) and Shaafi Jan (15) sustained injuries in the ankle and right leg respectively and were admitted to the PHC Harmain.
Director general of police SP Vaid confirmed the incident, saying the people rejected army’s Iftaar gesture as ‘haraam’ (unlawful under Islamic law) and pelted the soldiers with stones.
The residents said the local masjid committee had urged the army not to organise the Iftaar event, apprehending disturbance in peace. They said they have also asked the district magistrate to stop the army from organising the event.
“But the army did not heed to their advice,” said Muhammad Rafiq, a resident.
Vaid said the police have started investigation into the incident.
Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said facts about the incident were being ascertained.
A POLICE STATEMENT RELEASED LATE IN THE NIGHT READ:
“Today, around the Iftaar time, an army patrol of 34 RR had gone to the Jamia masjid of DK Pora village, for participating in iftaar with the locals of the area.
During the Iftaar, a mob of miscreants attacked the army patrol with stones and other items.
The army party withdrew from the scene by firing aerial warning shots. Subsequently, 4 injuries were reported to different hospitals, probably firearm injuries. All the injured are reportedly stable.
The police have taken cognisance of the episode and started legal proceedings. Information is preliminary in nature.”