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Indian army regrets killing of 2 civilians in Indian-controlled Kashmir


16:51, July 01, 2013

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Indian army on Sunday said they regret the killing of two civilian youth in Indian-controlled Kashmir and said they have ordered an inquiry into the incident.

"We regret the loss of lives in today's incident and express our sympathies with the victim families," Major General R R Nimbhodkar told reporters in Awantipora.

"An inquiry has been ordered and any army personnel found guilty will be dealt with strictly," he said.

He said a joint party comprising of Indian army and police had laid siege around the village on inputs that militants were present in the area.

"Our men after sensing some suspicious movement fired at the youth," Nimbhodkar said.

The killing took place in village Markundal of Sumbal of Bandipora District, around 38 km north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

On Saturday night, first the army fired at an 18-year-old youth, said Abdul Rehman Ganaie, uncle of the victim. Later the troopers fired at the protesters, killing another youth.

Following the killings, massive anti-India and anti-army protests broke out in the area. Protesters carrying bodies, including women and children, were demanding punishment to erring troopers.

The irate villagers took to roads early Sunday and staged massive demonstrations. The protesters also clashed with police and paramilitary troopers.

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.

The separatist and pro-India political parties have strongly condemned the civilian killings. The separatist groups have also called for a shutdown on Monday against the killing.

During the last more than two decades Indian troops are consistently accused of carrying out grave human rights violations in the region.

Separatists demanding an end of Indian ruling 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.

A guerrilla war is also going on between militants and Indian troops stationed in the region since 1989.

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