- People first fight with police over custody of the bodies of the slain duo, then residents of two villages fight among themselves over the burial
ANANTNAG: Two militants were killed in a brief gunfight with government forces in Tral area of Pulwama district on Sunday.
Scores of policemen and soldiers of army’s 42 Rashtriya Rifles unit had cordoned off Hari village in Tral, after being informed about the presence of the militants who were hiding in a house. The forces attacked the house and gunned down the militants who came out of the house in an attempt to fight their way through the siege.
The gunfight, local residents told Kashmir Reader, lasted for a few minutes only.
The deceased were identified as Adil Pathan alias Abu Hamza and Burmee. Awantipora superintendent of police Irshad Ahmad said the duo was affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit and had been operating in the area for the past five years.
“Adil Pathan was the district commander of the outfit and both were Pakistan nationals,” Irshad said.
Soon after the gunfight ended, scores of people came out of their houses and demonstrated against the forces, shouting pro-freedom slogans.
The protesters clashed with the forces who resorted to aerial firing. Witnesses said the forces somehow managed to take the bodies of the slain militants to police station Awantipora, but hundreds of youths gathered outside the station, demanding the bodies.
The angry youth pelted the police station with stones, prompting the policemen to fire tear smoke canisters. The clashes continued till the bodies were handed over to the mourning protesters.
However, the situation turned ugly when people of two villages, Bargam and Hari, fought bitterly over the burial of the slain duo.
Fayaz Ahmad, a local resident, told Kashmir Reader over phone that both villages wanted that the militants should be buried in their respective villages.
“The youth of the villages even went on to the extent of breaking the glass panes of the vehicles of each other. Finally the people Bargam succeeded in taking possession of the bodies,” he said.
Also, media persons accused the army of harassment during the incident. Irshad Kar, a local journalist, said, “The soldiers snatched the camera of Sheikh Kousar who is a cameraman for an Indian news channel and also took away Rs 6000 in cash from him.”
He said that when the soldiers refused to return the camera, the journalists went to Awantipora police station for filing a complaint.
“The SP first advised us to leave and not to confront the army. But when we refused to leave he assured us that both camera and cash would be returned to Kousar,” Irshad said.