Mohammad Suhail/Bilal Habib
Anantnag/Srinagar: A civilian was shot dead by government forces while at least thirty 30 others were injured, five of them by bullets, as clashes raged near the gunfight site in Pulwama and adjoining places.
The slain civilian was identified as Firdaus Ahmad Khan, a resident of Begum Bagh in Kakapora area of Pulwama district.
Khan was shot at near the encounter site in Hakripora of Newa, where Lashkar commander Abu Dujana and his associate were killed in a gunfight.
“He was brought dead to the hospital with a bullet injury in his chest,” the Medical Superintendent (MS) of Pulwama district hospital, Dr Abdul Rashid Parra, told Kashmir Reader.
Clashes erupted in Hakripora, Newa, Kakapora and some parts of main town Pulwama soon after the encounter was triggered this morning.
Hundreds of people marched towards the encounter site in a bid to help the trapped militants escape the cordoned- off residential house.
Forces fired bullets, pellets and tear -smoke shells to quell the civilian protests that erupted in the village.
Parra told Kashmir Reader that they could not keep a record of the injured, given the ever- swelling number of attendants.
However, he said, at least 15 injured were brought in to the hospital, including three with bullet pellet injuries and an equal number with bullet injuries made by bullets.
Providing further details of the injured, Parra said that one youth had bullet injuries to his chest and abdomen, another to his foot and yet another to his neck.
“The boy with the bullet injury to his chest was in shock and could have died if referred straightaway. He was operated on here and then shifted to SKIMS. The other two are here at the hospital and are stable,” Parra said.
He said that another boy with a perforated eye due to pellets has been referred to SMHS hospital.
Doctors at Public Health Centre (PHC) Kakapora told Kashmir Reader that more than eight injured were brought into the centre through the day, two of them with bullet injuries.
“Both of them had bullet injuries to their abdomen and have been evacuated to Srinagar for further treatment. Their condition was critical,” a doctor at the PHC told Kashmir Reader.
The Other other injured were taken to different PHC’s and some did not visit any hospital at all, getting their wounds dressed at private clinics.
A staff nurse at Pulwama district hospital was also injured after government forces opened fire right outside the health facility.
The nurse has been identified as Gulzara Akhter.
Parra said that the nurse had an injury to her abdomen.
“She did not have an all- out bullet injury, though. The bullet had hit something else before its splinters pierced her abdomen,” Parra said.
Gulzara has been shifted to Srinagar for treatment.
Clashes erupted in the neighbouring Shopian district as well, where at least four youths were injured.
While a complete, spontaneous shout shut-down was observed in many parts of south Kashmir, students of the Government Degree College in Kulgam came out waving Pakistani flags and blocked the Shopian-Kulgam road for a while.
Protests and clashes erupted at many places in Srinagar, Shopian, Kupwara and Sopore. Clashes erupted in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk as soon as the news about Dujana’s killing emerged.
Students of SP Higher Secondary School and Kothi Bagh Higher Secondary School appeared in the city centre and pelted the forces with stones outside the Telegraph Office.
Later, as soon as the police retaliated, the students pelted stones at them, triggering fierce battles. Police used tear-gas shells to disperse the protesting students. The protests triggered a shutdown in the area. The clashes spread to the Abi Guzar and Ghanta Ghar areas of the city centre.
The clashes disrupted traffic movement and led to massive chaos in the city centre. However the situation was restored to normal as the forces chased the protestors away.
Students of Amar Singh College, Srinagar, also held protests outside the college campus and clashes with forces.
Massive protests also rocked the University of Kashmir campus at Hazratbal against the killing of militants and a civilian in Pulwama.
Students marched through the varsity campus, raising pro-freedom slogans.
Many areas witnessed spontaneous shutdowns in Shopian district following the news of the LeT commander’s death.
“Students of Government Boys Higher Secondary clashed with the forces at Four Way Chowk, in which over half-a-dozen protestors, including students, sustained injuries,” witnesses said.
MS Shopian district hospital told Kashmir Reader that five students hit by pellets were treated at the health facility.
In Meemandar area of the district, people held protests which turned later into clashes.
“Four persons were injured who were treated at a local health facility,” sources said. Reports of protests from nearby Batpora area were also received.
In Baramulla, minor stone-pelting was reported from Sopore town, which witnessed a partial shutdown.
Similar reports of protests came from Handwara in Kupwara district where students clashed with forces soon after the news reached the town.
“The students marched on the Kupwara-Baramulla road but were blocked by the forces, who resorted to heavy tear-gas shelling,” witnesses said.
The area too witnesses a partial shutdown.