SRINAGAR (Web Desk / AP) – Amid an outrage in Kashmir, the Indian army admitted its mistake and said that actions by its soldiers like the one in which a lecturer was killed will not be tolerated.
“These raids were not sanctioned in the first place. It is unjusitified. Nobody can support it and it will not be tolerated,” Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda told reporters.
He said an inquiry has been ordered into the incident that took place during the intervening night of August 17 and 18 in Khrew area of Pulwama district.
Shabir Ahmad Monga, a lecturer, was killed and 18 others sustained injuries when they were thrashed by army personnel who were conducting nocturnal raids to arrest stone pelters in the area.
The villagers said army soldiers and counter-insurgency police officers raided Khrew village late Wednesday and took Shabir Ahmed and around 30 other people into custody.
They handed over Ahmed’s body to his family early Thursday, the villagers said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals.
Large protests against Indian rule in Kashmir and violent clashes with police and paramilitary soldiers have occurred daily since Indian troops killed a popular rebel leader nearly six weeks ago.
A strict curfew and a series of communications blackouts have failed to stop the protests, even as residents have struggled to cope with shortages of food, medicine and other necessities.
As protesting crowds have grown sometimes to tens of thousands, the protesters have resorted to pelting soldiers, and police with rocks and government forces have responded with bullets and shotgun pellets.
More than 70 civilians have died and thousands have been injured.
Police and soldiers have been accused of ransacking houses and beating residents to intimidate Kashmiri protesters.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in its entirety by both. Most Kashmiris are Muslim and want an end to rule by Hindu-majority India, instead favoring independence or a merger with Pakistan.