At least two people were reportedly killed in Handwara area of Jammu & Kashmir's Kupwara district Tuesday when Army personnel opened fire at a mob protesting against an Army man who allegedly tried to molest a girl in the town.
The deceased have been identified as Mohammad Iqbal, 21, and Nayeem Qadir Bhat, 22, the Hindustan Times reported. Iqbal, who suffered bullet injury in his head, was declared brought dead at a nearby hospital, while Bhat succumbed to the injuries he suffered in his abdomen, medical superintendent Dr Abdul Rouf said.
Three other civilians, including a woman, were also injured in the firing, according to Indo-Asian News Service. The woman is said to be in a "very critical" condition.
"Army deeply regrets the Handwara incident and loss of life. The matter will be investigated and anybody found guilty will be dealt with as per the law," Army's Srinagar-based Chinar Corp spokesperson said.
The Army opened fire after the agitators pelted stones at them and tried to set fire to soldiers' bunker, the police said. "When crowd assembled, tried to ransack the bunker & to set it on fire, the forces retaliated, that's when 2 people got injured," Asian News International quoted Kashmir Inspector General of Police SJM Gillani as saying.
The protesters were demanding the arrest of the soldier accused of molestation attempt. The accused Army man is said to be from Rashtriya Rifles. The police said they are investigating the allegations.
The National Conference, Congress and CPI(M) condemned the firing by the jawans and demanded action against the guilty.
Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed shock at the incident and said Army's Northern Command chief Lieutenant General DS Hooda told her that an inquiry had been ordered into Tuesday's incident.