Clashes follow funerals of local militants, one youth sustains bullet wounds
Pulwama: After more than 36 hours, the gunfight at CRPF’s camp in Lethpora area of Pulwama concluded Monday afternoon with the killing of the third Jaish-e-Mohammad militant, a Pakistani, taking the death toll in the “fidayeen” attack to 8: five CRPF personnel and 3 militants.
The two other slain militants were locals: Fardeen Khaday of Hayena Tral and Manzoor Ahmad Baba of Drubgam in Pulwama district. All militants belonged to the JeM.
Special Director General (DG) CRPF (Jammu and Kashmir Zone), SN Srivastava, said a search operation was still going on at the site.
“We want to double check before calling off the operation,” Srivastava said, adding that the third militant killed today was of Pakistani origin. The attack was carried out by three militants of the JeM at about 2:05 AM Sunday morning. They forced their way into the Commando Training Centre (CTC) of JK Police at Lethpora.
Three buildings inside the CTC are occupied by the CRPF and the militants chose one of these buildings as a target.
The militants killed four CRPF personnel while one, as per CRPF spokesperson Rajesh Yadav, died of a cardiac arrest while being evacuated from the building. Bodies of the local militants were handed over to their families late Sunday evening.
The militants’ funerals were held on Monday morning, for which thousands of people turned up, despite restrictions in the area and curtailment of mobile internet services.
In Drubgam, as per local sources, the government forces laid a cordon around the village to prevent people from reaching the village and also to prevent militants from appearing at the funeral.
The cordon led to stone throwing by some local youth following which the forces allegedly opened fire, leaving one youth, Manzoor Ahmad Rather, critically injured.
“He has bullet wounds on his face and shoulder. We have shifted him to SKIMS where, I am told, he has been operated upon. He is stable,” Dr Rashid Parra, MS at the Pulwama district hospital, told Kashmir Reader.
SSP Pulwama, Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam, maintained that the youth was shot at near Shadimarg, on the way to Drubgam.
“We are trying to ascertain how he was shot. There was an army vehicle on guard near Shadimarg which came under heavy stone pelting. It was there the boy was shot at. We will find out the facts,” Aslam told Kashmir Reader.
Defense spokesperson Rajesh Kalia, however, said that army personnel were not even present there.
“The allegations are absolutely baseless,” Kalia told Kashmir Reader.
Meanwhile, clashes were reported from near the site of funeral of Khanday in Hayena Tral and later in main town Tral, where locals alleged that some mourners were beaten by government forces, triggering clashes.
Clashes were also witnessed in Pampore area of Pulwama district during the day.
Superintendent of police Awantipora, Zahid Malik, could not be contacted for the police version despite repeated attempts by this reporter.
A shutdown was also observed in parts of Shopian. Clashes erupted in Meemandar area of the district, where forces used tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting people.
Nobody was reported injured, however.
Superintendent of police Shopian, Sri Ram Dinkar, acknowledged that there were clashes in the area and tear smoke shelling was used to disperse the protestors.
Train services on the Srinagar-Banihal stretch of the track remained suspended today.
Mobile internet services as well were yet to be restored when this report was filed.