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Mehbooba Mufti meets Manohar Parrikar, Venkaiah Naidu, seeks time-bound inquiry in Handwara firing incident

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today raised the issue of Handwara firing in which two civilians were killed with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who assured her that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished.
PTI April 13, 2016 14:03 IST

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today sought from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar a "time-bound inquiry" into the Handwara firing, which left a budding cricketer and two others dead.

Mehbooba, who is on her maiden visit here after assuming post of Chief Minister, today met Parrikar and Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu separately.

In her meeting with Parrikar, she sought a time bound probe saying it will will act as a deterrent against such incidents in future.

Describing the firing incident as "very unfortunate", the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said, "I spoke to the Defence Minister. He assured me that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished. At the same time the family (of the victims) will be compensated. Such incidents should not happen in the future."

Two youth, including a budding cricketer, and a woman were killed in Handwara when security forces opened fire to disperse a stone-pelting mob targeting their bunker.

The incident took place after reports surfaced that some army personnel had allegedly molested a girl returning from school. However, police investigations have so far indicated that no such incident had taken place and it was an attempt by some miscreants to create disturbance for removing an army bunker located within Handwara town, sources said.

Army has ordered an inquiry while the police registered a criminal case and begun investigations into the incident which triggered more protests and had an echo in Srinagar and Pulwama districts of Kashmir as well.

Mehbooba said such incidents shake the confidence of the people and adversely impact the efforts of the State government in consolidating peace dividends.

Even as she sought from Parrikar adequate compensation for the families of the victims, Mehbooba said the loss of lives of the innocent civilians cannot be compensated by whatsoever means.

Mehbooba had yesterday said the security personnel involved in the killing of two youths will be handed exemplary punishment, saying such incidents "cannot" be tolerated.

Mehbooba also raised a number of other issues including the handing over certain portions of land not required by the Army to the State so that they can be used for promoting tourism and developing civic, educational and infrastructure facilities in the larger public interest.

She also took up the issue of concrete action by the Defence Ministry on the decisions taken into the civil-military liaison conference besides revision in the rates of rent to different categories of land held by the Army and revision of compensation provided to people affected by Field Firing and Artillery Practices.

Later, she met the Union Minister for Urban Development at his residence where she discussed with him several proposals for upgradation of civic facilities in cities and towns in the state.

Mehbooba said both capital cities Srinagar and Jammu should be included in the Smart Cities Mission besides including the forward town of Kargil under the ambit of AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation).

Presently, Leh town is being covered under the Centrally-sponsored scheme. She sought "liberal financial assistance" from the Ministry so that it benefits from various Central government schemes, which will help the state overcome challenges in solid waste management.