SRINAGAR — A wave of disquiet and demands for justice swept through Jammu and Kashmir following the mysterious deaths of three civilians in the aftermath of an ambush on army vehicles in the Poonch district. The incident, which claimed the lives of five soldiers and left two injured, has sparked controversy and raised questions about the circumstances leading to the civilian fatalities.
The deceased—Safeer Hussain (43), Mohammad Showket (27), and Shabir Ahmad (32)—all residents of Topa Peer village in Bufliaz, were among the eight individuals reportedly detained by the army for questioning after the attack at Dhatyar Morh, situated between Dhera Ki Gali and Bufliaz. The cause of their deaths remains shrouded in mystery, intensifying calls for a comprehensive investigation into the sequence of events.
Government authorities swiftly responded to the unfolding situation. Deputy Commissioner Poonch, Choudhary Mohammad Yasin and Senior Superintendent of Police Vinay Kumar arrived at Bufliaz upon receiving reports of the civilian deaths. Also, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar is en route to Surankote, as the incident garners significant attention and outcry.
Meanwhile, witnesses said that protests broke out in the region and authorities suspended mobile internet services in Poonch and Rajouri districts as a “precautionary measure” to avoid the spread of rumours and misinformation.
Various political entities, including the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Apni Party, took centre stage in denouncing the civilian killings. NC, led by General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar, staged a peaceful protest, demanding a time-bound judicial inquiry into the incident. The police, however, restricted the movement of protesters at the party headquarters, heightening tensions during the demonstration.
PDP President Mehbooba Mufti also raised concerns, urging Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s intervention for a thorough investigation. She highlighted the alleged brutality suffered by the civilians before their bodies were found, emphasizing the need for swift justice and immediate compensation for the affected families.
Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari echoed similar sentiments, expressing shock over the civilian deaths and urging Home Minister Amit Shah to ensure a comprehensive probe. Bukhari emphasized the necessity of holding any responsible parties accountable and addressing human rights violations promptly.
Amid mounting pressure and public outrage, the Jammu and Kashmir Government announced legal proceedings into the deaths, alongside compensation for the families of the deceased. The Indian Army, acknowledging the ongoing investigations, pledged full cooperation and support to facilitate the inquiry process.
As Kashmir grapples with the aftermath of the Poonch tragedy, the call for justice reverberates across the region, amplifying demands for transparency and accountability for the grieving families affected by the unfortunate sequence of events. The investigation remains ongoing as authorities work towards unravelling the circumstances surrounding these unsettling civilian deaths.