SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, April 12 (Xinhua) — Two youth were killed and another wounded Tuesday after Indian army troopers fired on enraged people protesting an alleged sexual assault bid on a woman at the hands of a trooper in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials said.
The troopers opened fire in Handwara town of frontier Kupwara district, 71 km northwest of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
“We heard a trooper of Indian army on duty tried to sexually assault a woman near a washroom,” Parvez Ahmad, a local resident, told Xinhua via telephone.
“This enraged the residents, after all we can’t compromise on the honor of our mothers and sisters.”
The news about the alleged sexual assault saw hundreds of people on roads chanting slogans against the Indian army and throwing rocks towards them, demanding arrest of the erring trooper.
“The troopers fired on protesters to chase them away and in the melee two youth were killed after being hit by bullets,” a senior police official posted in Handwara said.
The Indian army said it “deeply regrets the unfortunate loss of life” in Tuesday’s incident.
“The matter will be thoroughly investigated and anybody found guilty will be severely dealt with as per the law,” Col. N. N. Joshi, a Srinagar-based Indian military spokesman told Xinhua.
Joshi said troops were deployed in the area and the army has a post in the town.
The slain civilian youth were identified as Mohammad Iqbal and Nayeem Qadir Bhat.
“Mohammad Iqbal has bullet wound in head, while as Nayeem Qadir was hit in the abdomen,” said a senior health official at a hospital in Handwara.
The killing of youth has fueled the protests further in the area. Anti-India sentiment runs deep into the psyche of Kashmiris.
Separatist groups have called for a shutdown in the region against the civilian killings on Wednesday.
Indian-controlled Kashmir is considered as one of the highest militarized regions in the world.