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Shopian villagers refute Army’s claim

Srinagar, Jan 29: “How can 250 stone-pelters attack army in a village comprising of just 150 households?” questions an eyewitness to the Ganowpora, Shopian, incident.
Two civilians were killed and 11 others injured in army firing in the south Kashmir village during an encounter with the militants on Saturday.
A statement released by the army soon after said its “convoy was attacked by 100-120 stone-pelters and within no time, their numbers swelled to 200-250”, forcing the military to open fire.
Bhartiya Janta Party legislator Ravinder Raina, too, on Sunday had justified the army firing as “the need of the hour” and had said that the forces did the “right thing”.
An eyewitness to the incident, a relative (name withheld) of wounded Riyaz Ahmad Ganai, who has been under treatment at the SK Institute of Medical Sciences here, terms the army’s version as “fake and misleading”.
“So, the army claims there were 250 stone-pelters. How is that possible when the entire village comprises of some 150 houses?” he questions.
He says the army’s intentions were clear.
“They wanted to go for a kill in the name of self-defense,” he says. “As per the rule, shouldn’t they be shooting below the waist? You kill someone to safeguard yourself? What type of security is that?”
“Who is safe in Kashmir? Killing innocents have become common here. One can never say when a person has bid his final goodbye.”
Rayees, who was shifted to SKIMS by the villagers, has shown “no signs of recovery” since he was admitted to the hospital, says his elder brother Sahil Ganie.
“What was Rayees’ fault? Why did the army shoot at him? He was just coming home from work,” says his elder brother. “Rayees was innocent.”
As per Sahil, the relatives still have not informed Rayees’ mother, Fatima Banoo, about the incident, for she may “die knowing what has happened to her son”.
“She (mother) will die if we tell her the condition of Rayees. We are afraid. I don’t know what, when and how to say this. It’s a difficult phase,” he says.
Sahil says that they have no “hopes” from the government, believing that “no action” will be taken against the forces.
“There have been so many FIRs that have been filed in the past. Who are they fooling? We know nothing is going to happen. This government, these arm forces, we trust no one,” he concludes.