Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today raised the issue of Handwara firing in which two civilians were killed with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who assured her that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished. Mehbooba, who is on her maiden visit to the national capital after assuming the post of chief minister, met Parrikar and Union Urban Development Minister Venakiah Naidu.
Describing the incident as “very unfortunate”, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said “I spoke to Defence Minister. He assured me that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished. “At the same time the family will be compensated. Such incidents should not happen in the future,” she said after meeting Parrikar.
Two youth, including a budding cricketer, were killed in Handwara firing when Army opened fire to disperse a stone-pelting mob targetting their bunker. The incident took place after reports surfaced that some army personnel had allegedly molested a girl returning from school. However, police investigations have so far indicated that no such incident had taken place and it was an attempt by some miscreants to create disturbance for removing an army bunker located within Handwara town, sources said.
Army has ordered an inquiry while the Jammu and Kashmir Police registered a criminal case and begun investigations into the incident which triggered more protests in Handwara and had an echo in Srinagar and Pulwama districts of Kashmir as well. Mehbooba Mufti had yesterday said the security personnel involved in the killing of two youths will be handed exemplary punishment, saying such incidents “cannot” be tolerated. She had said such tragic incidents have a huge negative impact on the efforts of the government and the political leadership aimed at consolidating the peace efforts.
The security forces must exercise maximum restraint and adhere to the Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) while dealing with the public protests as incidents of innocent killings cannot be tolerated, she had said, while expressing solidarity with the families of the two youth. Mehbooba Mufti also raised the issue of handing over of civilian land from army to the state government. Later, she met the Urban Development Minister to discuss various development projects being undertaken by the state and central government. Mufti had met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday.