Gunfight on in Pahalgam amid protests

Gunfight on in Pahalgam amid protests
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Anantnag: Clashes broke out between government forces and youth in southern Kashmir after a gunfight between militants and the forces started in Pahalgam’s Awoora village on Sunday.
The gunfight broke out at about 4pm in the village after the army and police cordoned the area following a specific input about the presence of militants. Police sources said that the militants opened fire on soldiers after they had laid the cordon.
“Two to three militants are trapped inside a house and the exchange of fire is going on,” said a police official.
As soon as the news about the encounter spread in the area, people from several nearby villages braving the cold started marching towards the encounter site to help the militants escape. However, the forces resorted to teargas shelling to prevent the youth from marching ahead, after which clashes ensued. 
People from several other villages who tried to march towards Awoora were not allowed to move beyond Srigufwara where forces had blocked the road. 
Protests and clashes also erupted in Bijbehara town between forces and local youth after the news about the encounter spread in the area. Witnesses said that groups of youth took to streets and pelted stones at forces who, in retaliation, lobbed tear-smoke shells. The clashes were going on in the town till this report was being filed.  
No senior police official responded to repeated calls from Kashmir Reader. A police official posted in the area said that nothing could be said about the number of militants holed up.
Late evening, locals said the forces carried out powerful blasts near the house where the militants are holed up.
“We are hearing the horrible sounds of blasts from some time,” a local told Kashmir Reader over phone.

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