Yawar had joined Hizb 17 days ago
Anantnag: A student who had joined Hizbul Mujahideen only 17 days ago was killed in a late-night encounter on Thursday in Kanelwa area of Bijbehara, here in Anantnag district. A civilian was also killed in what the army claimed to be “crossfire” and an army soldier of 63 RR was injured during the exchange of fire, a police statement said. Two militants managed to escape from the area, the police said.
The slain militant has been identified as Yawar Nazir Shergujri, resident of Sherpora area in main town Anantnag. Yawar was a student before he joined the Hizb ranks only about a fortnight ago.
The civilian killed in the gunfight was identified late Friday morning as 35-year-old Ghulam Mohiuddin Bhat, resident of Arwini area in Bijbehara. Bhat was a labourer by profession and his family said he may have been returning from work when he was caught in crossfire.
The operation in Kanelwan, as per police reports, was launched at about 8:15 Thursday evening, after specific inputs of presence of militants in the area.
“Searches were carried out for a few hours, and at about midnight, the militants fired at our men in a bid to flee the area,” a senior police official said.
He said that two of the three militants managed to flee. One of the militants was trapped and killed in the exchange of fire.
“As the encounter concluded, it was learnt that a civilian had been killed in the crossfire. He was riding a bike in the area at the time of the encounter,” the official said.
He added that the civilian’s purpose of being in the area at that late hour, amid the gunfight, was being ascertained.
Locals told Kashmir Reader that the slain militant was badly injured and took shelter in a washroom in the compound of one of the houses in the village.
“He was badly injured. He dragged himself to the washroom and he may have been dead before the forces spotted him,” an eyewitness told Kashmir Reader.
Others who managed to get a glimpse of the action said that the forces conducted a thorough search of the area and found Yawar’s ammunition pouch lying outside the washroom.
“Forces fired hundreds of rounds at the tin door of the washroom. I’m not sure whether the fire was even returned. As I said, he may have been dead for a while before he was spotted,” the eyewitness said.
No one from the area had any clue about the killing of the civilian till it was announced by the police later in the morning.
After identification of the bodies, they were handed over to their respective families.
Hundreds of people were already waiting for Yawar’s body at Sherpora in main town Anantnag.
His body was taken to the Eid Gah in Janglat Mandi area of the town, where hundreds attended his funeral, amid restrictions in most parts of the town.
Yawar was buried at the martyrs’ graveyard of the town.
The civilian, Ghulam Mohiuddin, was buried in his ancestral graveyard in Arwini after hundreds of people attended his funeral.
Mohiuddin is survived by his two wives and three children. His family said that they had no idea how and why he was killed.
“He did odd jobs to keep food on the table. These days he was working as a labourer and maybe he was returning from work when he was caught in the crossfire. God knows what the truth is,” a relative of the slain Mohiuddin told Kashmir Reader.
Clashes erupted between local youth and government forces amid a complete shutdown across Anantnag district during the day. Clashes were reported from the town’s Lal Chowk, parts of the old town, and Bijbehara areas. Police used tear smoke shells to quell the protests.