Army ordered a probe after two men were killed and many wounded on Tuesday when forces fired at people protesting against an alleged molestation attempt by a soldier in north Kashmir’s Handwara town, 90km from state capital Srinagar.

Mohammad Iqbal, 21, was hit by a bullet in the head and brought dead, said Dr Abdul Rouf, medical superintendent of a nearby hospital. Nayeem Qadir Bhat, 22, who was hit in the abdomen, died in the hospital.

“Army deeply regrets the Handwara incident and loss of life. The matter will be investigated and anybody found guilty will be dealt with as per the law,” said a spokesperson of army’s Chinar Corp based in Srinagar.

Soldiers fired at demonstrators demanding the arrest of a jawan believed to be from the Rashtriya Rifles who allegedly molested a girl.

Police said the rock-throwing protesters tried to torch a soldiers’ bunker, and added the sexual assault allegation was being investigated.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is speaking about animal protection (read cow protection), his armed forces “just shot dead 2 more innocent Kashmiri boys”, moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said.

Hardline Kashmiri leaders and rights activists accuse the army of using disproportionate force against protesters in militancy-affected Jammu and Kashmir. Denying such charges, the army has said all allegations of rights abuse are investigated so that action can be taken against personnel responsible for any lapses.

“The incident is unfortunate. Loss of innocent lives is condemnable…I am trying to…find out what happened,” senior cabinet minister Nayeem Akhtar said.

Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani called a bandh in the state on Wednesday, saying state-sponsored terrorism was at its peak.