Kashmir Valley erupted in protests as government forces let loose a reign of terror with at least three people being reported dead and scores others injured in the clashes between the youth and government forces.
A teenager boy was killed in the clashes near the encounter site in Arwani village of southern district of Islamabad after he was hit by a bullet. As per reports 14-yearold was hit by bullet in chest near the encounter site.
He was referred to Qaimoh hospital, locals said, where doctors declared him brought dead. The deceased has been identified as Ahsan Dar, S/o Mushtaq Ahmad Dar from Shamsipora area of Kulgam. A gunfight began between the security forces and militants in Kulgam district, officials said. Police said that security forces closed in on Arwani village in Kulgam district following specific information about the presence of militants there.
“As the security forces closed on the hiding militants, they fired at the security forces triggering an encounter which is now going on”. According to reports, a group of 3-4 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants are trapped inside the cordon laid by the security forces. Following the encounter civilian protests started in the village to disrupt the operation against the hiding militants.
Two militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) including top commander Junaid Mattoo was killed in an encounter with forces in Arwani. Mattoo was believed to be active for the past two years and carried a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on his head.
Reports said that the militants were engaged in a fire-fight with forces for several hours. Official said that the identity of another militant is yet to be ascertained. Acting on a specific input about presence of militants in the area, a joint team of Army, J-K police and CRPF cordoned off Arwani village cordoned off the area today morning.
Meanwhile, officials said that as the cordon was laid some youth assembled near the area and started pelting stones on forces which resulted in clashes. Also Naseer Ahmad Sheikh, a resident of Ashtengoo Bandipora and Mohammad Ashraf, resident of Kharepora Arwani in Kulgam district were killed in two separate force’s actions.
Intense clashes were witnessed in different parts of Kashmir against the civilian killing in Rangreth area of Srinagar and Arwani of Anantnag.
As per reports in Nowhatta area of downtown Srinagar, youth staged protests after congregational Friday prayers. Police and paramilitary forces deployed in the area used tear smoke shelling to disperse the stone-throwing protesters, triggering clashes.
In Sopore, youth assembled near Markazi Jamia Masjid Sopore and raised pro-freedom slogans. They were protesting against the killing of two civilians in firing by government forces in Rangreth and Arwani areas of Srinagar and Anantnag respectively.
Youth pelted stones on forces after they were barred from taking out a march, reports said. The forces responded by lobbing teargas shells to disperse the protesters, triggering clashes. As per reports clashes also erupted between security forces and locals in Hajin town in Bandipora district as hundreds of youth assembled outside Jamia Masjid after the congregational Friday prayers and shouted slogans in favour of Azadi. As the protest march proceeded youth hurled stones on forces, who retaliated by lobbing tear gas shells to disperse the protesters, triggering clashes in the area.
In Pampore area, reports said that one person identified as Sajad Ahmad of Drangbal Pampore was hit by a tear gas shell in his head during clashes with forces. In Pulwama, intense stone pelting erupted in main town in which several youth reportedly suffered injuries in the clashes.
Thousands of people attended the funeral of Naseer Ahmad Sheikh at Ashtengoo in Bandipora on Friday.
Naseer Ahmad Sheikh who suffered grievous injuries during clashes between protesters and forces in Rangreth area on the outskirts of Srinagar on Thursday succumbed to his injuries late night.
He was hit by a bullet in his chest when the personnel of SSB opened fire on protestors in Rangreth. “He was immediately rushed to JVC hospital Srinagar where he was provided necessary first aid and was shifted to SKIMS Srinagar for specialized treatment but he succumbed to his injures,” said an official.
Reports said that Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel were withdrawing from the area when they came under stone-pelting.
“They (SSB) resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesters. One youth was injured,” they added.
Meanwhile, two civilians were injured when army personnel opened fire on their vehicle after it did not stop at a check-point in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, police said.
A naka party of the army’s 14 Rashtriya Rifles signaled them to stop their vehicle at a check-point in check Reshipora area of the district, a police official said. The driver ignored the signal and tried to run away when the jawans manning the post opened fire, he said.
Fayaz Ahmad and Muzafar Ahmad, both residents of Qazipora area of the district, who were travelling in the car, received bullet injuries on their arms and legs, the official said. He said they have been admitted to a hospital and their condition is said to be stable.