Ganawpora Killings: The Complete Story

SRINAGAR: Refuting rumours, a senior administrator of the SKIMS said Rayees Ahmad, a young man, injured in Ganawpora is being operated upon and is on the operation table.

“Right now, competent neurosurgeons are operating upon his head and given the fact that the head injuries are usually unpredictable, we will be knowing the exact status of injury once the skull is opened,” Dr Amin Tabish, the Medical Superintendent at SKIMS said. “It is too early to say anything.”

Rayees is one of three young men who was hit by bullets in their heads. Javed Ahmad Bhat, 22, breathed his last in the district hospital Pulwama. Sohail Javed Lone, 25, died in the Primary Health Centre at Rajpora. It was the third injured youth Rayeess Ahmad Ganai who was also hit in his head and rushed to SKIMS where he is being operated upon.

Incident

Details from Shopian said that the people were coming in hoards to the Ganawpora-Balpora village on the third day of Firdous Ahmad Lone, a Hizb militant, who was killed in the Cahigund village, two days back. In morning a posse of 44-RR came to the cemetery side and plucked all the buntings and the banners that the slain militant’s friends had put on. This triggered anger in the entire village.

“Later at around 3:30 pm, a convoy of 10-Garwal moved through the village and the angry men started pelting stones on them,” a senior police officer from South Kashmir said. “It was against the advisory that we had issued earlier and it triggered the crisis.” The officer said that they have no record of any other person being hit by any bullet, other than the three. “But all the three were shot in their heads and it has created serious tensions in the region.”

The officer said the police had handled the situation well in the region and there was not a single incident of any stone pelting in last three days.

Police Statement

“Today on 27-01-2018, a convoy of 10 Gadwal of Army on its way from 12 Sector Hq Balpora Shopian to Maspora, came under heavy stone pelting at village Ganowpora. Pertinently, Ganowpora is the village of militant Firdous Ahmad, who was recently killed in an encounter on January 24, 2018 at Cheegund, Shopian.

Due to this stone pelting reportedly some army personnel were injured and army personnel retaliated by firing, in which three (03) individuals namely Javiad Ahmad Bhat (20)  son of  Abdul Rashid Bhat resident of  Balpora Shopian, Rayees Ahmad Ganaie (24) son of  Mohd Yousuf resident of Nadpora Shopian and Suhail Javaid son of  Javaid Ahmad Lone resident of Ganowpora sustained bullet injuries. Javaid Ahmad and Suhail Javaid succumbed to the injuries at District Hospital Pulwama and P.H. Rajpora respectively. Rayees Ahmad Ganaie has been referred to SKIMS Soura where he is being operated upon.

In this connection, a case FIR No. 26/2018 under relevant sections of law stands registered in Police Station Shopian and investigation has been set into motion.”

The Army

The Army has said that it was forced to open fire in self-defence. In a statement issued in Srinagar, the Army said an administrative convoy was passing through Ganaupura chowk at around 3pm on Saturday when it came “under unprovoked and intense stone pelting” by a group of over 100 people. Within no time, their numbers swelled to 200-250 persons, it said.

“The crowd surrounded an isolated portion of the convoy consisting of four vehicles. They caused extensive damage to these vehicles and tried to set them on fire. A junior commissioned officer accompanying the convoy got hit on the head and fell unconscious suffering serious injury. The mob tried to lynch the individual and snatch his weapon. The violent crowd further closed in towards the vehicles and attempted to set them on fire,” the statement read.

The Army said that considering the extreme gravity of the situation, its personnel had to open fire in self-defence to prevent lynching of the JCO and burning of government vehicle by the mob”. It said seven army men suffered injuries.

Reaction

Within minutes after the killings, the separatist triumvirate has called for a day-long protest strike. “While one understands the blackout of this death dance by the propagandist Indian media, it is shame that the Indian rights activists, humanists and civil society members have turned deaf dumb and blind to the butchering of young Kashmiris and the world human rights watchdogs callously watch on, doing nothing,” Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said in a statement. “Every alternate day there is a killing of young boys and forces feel proud in emptying their cartridges on the unarmed and innocent civilians.”

National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah and Working President Mr Omar Abdullah expressed deep grief over the killing of two innocent civilians and injuries to nine others in the firing in Ganowpora.

Describing the incident unfortunate and extremely shocking, the two NC leaders conveyed their condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for peace to the depurated souls. They also wished a speedy recovery to those injured in the firing.

Chaigund Encounter: The Complete Story

In Srinagar, authorities have imposed restrictions to prevent any escalations of the tensions. The restrictions on movement will be in the areas which traditionally remain closed during tense days. “Complete restrictions will be imposed within the territorial jurisdictions of Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, Safakadal and MR Gunj police stations and partial restrictions within those of Maisuma and Kralkhud,” a handout issued by the government said.

In Shopian, within minutes after the news about killings spread like wildfire, the people took to the mike-fitted mosques to issue a complete strike. Soon, the routine songs started playing. Businesses and transport were asked to stay away and protest the “brutality”.

Meanwhile, the Railway authorities have announced the closure of the train service across Kashmir on Sunday. The train usually runs between Baramulla and Banihal.

While Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti has rang up Defence Minister, the Divisional Commissioner in Srinagar has ordered a megisterail probe.

 The Encounter

The Ganawpora killings are an extension of the encounter in Chaigund village where two militants including Firdous was killed. Residents, police said, resorted to stone pelting on the army-police and it led to the firing in which one civilian was killed. Those injured include the sister of a slain militant, daughter of the house owner whose home went up in smoke and another youth. All the three are being treated at SKIMS.

“One of the two girls is showing a clear improvement,” Dr Tabish said. “Two others are in a state of status quo, neither improving nor deteriorating.” All the three had bullets in their heads but the boy had additional injuries too.

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