14-yr-old among the two killed; 30 others injured, 10 with bullets
Anantnag: Two civilians were killed, both shot in their chest, by government troops near an encounter site in Arwani area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
More than 30 other civilians were injured, at least ten of them by bullets, during the day-long clashes in Arwani-Frisal region that occurred after a gunfight began between militants and government troops in Arwani.
The slain civilians have been identified as 22-year-old Muhammad Ashraf Khar, son of Abdul Rehman of Khar Mohalla in Arwini, and 14-year-old Ahsan Dar, son of Mushtaq Ahmad Dar of Shamsipora village in the neighbouring Anantnag district.
Locals said when the gunfight began in Malik Mohalla locality of Arwani at about 8am this morning, people from different villages across the region started rushing to the site to help the militants escape.
“The youth who had assembled in the area hurled stones at government troops in a bid to give the trapped militants an escape route,” local sources told Kashmir Reader.
They said the youth became restless when they heard that Lashkar commander Junaid Mattu was trapped in the gunfight.
“It was in the initial hours of the encounter that the troops opened fire at the protesting youth,” local sources said. They said that Ashraf was hit by a bullet during this firing.
Ashraf was rushed to Anantnag district hospital along with some other injured, but doctors there declared him brought dead.
“Yes, he had a bullet wound near his heart,” a doctor at Anantnag district hospital told Kashmir Reader.
As the encounter raged on and clashes intensified, the government forces kept firing bullets, pellets and tear smoke shells to quell the protests, leaving at least 30 persons injured.
Towards the evening, another boy, Ahsan Dar, was shot in the chest.
He was rushed to the sub-district hospital in Qaimoh where he was declared brought dead.
“Yes, he was declared brought dead at the hospital,” a senior health official from Kulgam district confirmed to Kashmir Reader.
Among the injured, at least 6 have been shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment.
Three of them have pellet injuries in their eyes and three have bullet wounds. One of them is in critical condition with a bullet wound in his abdomen.
As per the Medical Superintendent (MS) of the Anantnag district hospital, Dr Majid Mirab, the hospital received a total of 8 injured during the day. “Two of them have bullet wounds, two have pellet injuries, and one has been injured by a teargas shell,” Dr Mirab told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the injured received at the hospital were all stable.
At sub-district hospital Bijbehara, ten injured were received.
“Four of them had bullet wounds. Two of them have been shifted to Srinagar. Three persons had pellet wounds in their eyes. They, too, have been shifted to Srinagar,” Block Medical Officer (BMO) Bijbehara, Dr Showket, told Kashmir Reader.
At different hospitals in Kulgam district, 10 injured were admitted. “Five of the injured have firearm injuries, two have pellet injuries, and one has teargas shell injury,” Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Kulgam, Dr Muhammad Shafi, told Kashmir Reader.
Clashes were still going on in Arwini and adjoining areas, including in Bijbehara, Frisal and some other areas, when this report was filed.
As per local sources, CRPF men chasing a protestor caught hold of him and were beating him when some journalists objected to it. At this, the CRPF men manhandled a senior journalist and hurled stones at a group of journalists who were covering the encounter.
The paramilitary men also took the protestor they had caught along with them. The man was later identified as Shakoor Ahmad, resident of Bijbehara.
The encounter in Arwani is still officially going on as police are yet to retrieve any bodies from the site. Firing had stopped from both sides when last reports came in.