Over a dozen people protesting against killings injured; trio buried amid azadi slogans
ANANTNAG: Three militants were killed on Saturday in a gunfight with army and police in Pulwama district. Their killing evoked demonstrations, which morphed into clashes, leaving more than a dozen protesters injured.
Armed with mortar guns, bullet-proof vehicles and heavy weaponry, scores of soldiers and policemen laid siege last evening around a house in Panzgam where someone had informed the forces about the presence of three militants.
A few residents who spoke to Kashmir Reader on phone said that after a brief exchange of fire, the forces blew up the house with explosives, killing the trio identified by Awantipora superintendent of police SD Patel as Ishaq Ahmad Dar of Dogripora; Ishfaq Ahmad Baba of Tahab and Haseeb Ahmad Pala of Bandnoo.
“Two of the militants belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen and the other was associated with LeT,” the SP said.
A teenager, Vakil Ahmad Wagay, was injured in an explosion near the house after the killings. Hundreds of people rushed to the site after the encounter was over, although the government has warned people that they should not venture near such places.
Ishfaq of Tahab, a 10+2 pass-out had joined the LeT in 2014. He is said to have purchased an AK-47 rifle for Rs 20,000 from a youth who had snatched it from the personal guard of BJP’s district president Gulzar Ahmad.
The slain militant was a close associate of Lashkar commander Irshad Ahmad Ganai, who was killed in an encounter last year.
Haseeb, a graduate, too had joined the armed outfit in 2014.
Soon after the killings, tens of hundreds of people from neighbouring villages rushed to Panzgam to attend the funeral of the trio who were buried in their native villages. The mourners shouted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
In Tahab, protesters attacked the camp of CRPF 182 Batallion with stones and tried to storm the camp. The troopers, witnesses said, resorted heavy teargas shelling and fired pellet ammunition to chase the protesters away.
“Twelve people with pellet injuries were brought to hospital for treatment. Of them, four had received pellets in head, face and chest. They were referred to Srinagar for treatment. The rest of the injured were discharged after first aid,” a doctor at the district hospital told Kashmir Reader.
Pulwama senior superintendent of police Rayees Mohammad said only five civilians and three policemen were injured during the clashes.
Clashes were also reported from Pulwama town, where angry youth thrashed a policeman in civvies and reportedly snatched his identity card.