Srinagar: The death of a Hizbul Mujahideen commander in an encounter sparked violent anti-India protests in Qazigund area of south Kashmir on Monday. Meanwhile, an unidentified militant was killed in a separate encounter in Tral town.
Hizb’s district commander Javed Ahmad Mir alias Salfi, a resident of Bulbul Nowgam (Anantnag), was killed in the gunfight in Shamspora village of Qazigund.
Reports said Javed had taken shelter in a residential house belonging to Ghulam Ahmad Parray in Shamspora, when a team of army’s 9 RR and police cordoned off the village on early Monday. When the forces zeroed in on the residential house, the holed up militant opened gunfire to break the cordon.
The forces returned the fire triggering a gunbattle that continued for over two hours. The forces later blasted the house razing it to the ground.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police, south Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar said the forces had offered the militant to surrender. “However, he declined the offer and resorted to firing on the search team. In the ensuing gunfight he was killed,” Kumar said.
After blasting the three-storey house, forces brought a JCB to remove the debris to retrieve the body of the militant. As the operation was going on, reports said scores of people came out of their houses and tried to march towards the site. They were chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
The forces used batons and fired teargas canister to disperse angry protesters. However, the protesters pelted rocks. The pitched battles continued for some time, reports said
Police later retrieved the body of Javed and took it along for post-mortem. Javed’s body is likely to be given to his family on Tuesday, reports said.
The killing of Javed also led to a spontaneous shutdown in Qazigund town. All shops, offices, business establishments, financial institutions closed down in the main town after the news of Javed’s killing spread.
Police said Javed had joined Hizb in 1998 and was arrested in 2003. “Later on his release in 2007 he again joined Hizb. In 2009 he was again arrested but recycled back to militancy,” a police spokesman said.
Meanwhile, an unknown militant was killed in a gunbattle that erupted in Tral area of Pulwama district on Monday evening.
Reports said the militant was killed in exchange of gunfire with army’s 3 RR personnel in Dadsaran village. However, two more militants had managed to give slip to the soldiers.