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Village guard shoots wife in Jammu

“Accidental” firing by a member of the Village Defence Guard killed his wife in Jammu’s Poonch district, triggering fresh worries about arming poorly trained civilians to fight militants. The incident came after multiple instances of panic firing by VDG members in Jammu’s Pir Panchal area — made up of the Rajouri and Poonch districts — after the government started arming more civilians in the region to fight militants.

The government move followed the killing of seven Hindus by militants early this year. The Jammu region already has 30,000 VDG members, who are mostly Hindus.

Officials said that allegedly accidental firing by Nissar Ahmad, a VDG member at Lower Murrah village in Surankote, had killed his wife Rubina Kousar, 30.

The police have arrested Ahmad and begun investigating whether the firing had indeed been accidental. Murrah sarpanch Mohammad Aslam said Ahmad had been cleaning his rifle when the “accident” took place. “She was apparently shot in the back by a single bullet and died soon after,” he said.

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