Another critically injured in the firing in Khodweni area after local militant killed in forests near Kokernag
Anantnag: A civilian was killed and another critically injured when the army, according to the police, opened fire on stone-pelting youths in Khodweni area of Kulgam district on Tuesday after a local Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant was killed in a gunfight with government forces in the forests of Larnoo here in Kokernag area of Anantnag.
Khodweni in Kulgam was the native place of the slain militant. Clashes broke out between locals and government forces after the news of the militant’s killing reached there. Clashes also occurred near the encounter site in Kokernag, where one youth was injured by pellets.
The slain militant has been identified as Farheen Wani, son of Ghulam Muhammad Wani, resident of Wangund village in Khodweni. The killed civilian has been identified as Khalid Ahmad Dar, son of Abdul Samad Dar, a resident of Khodweni.
According to police reports, a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) was launched early Tuesday morning in Pehlipora village near Larnoo, following “inputs of presence of militants in the area”.
“As the cordon was being tightened, the militants opened fire in a bid to escape. They managed to sneak into the nearby forest area, where the security forces followed and managed to gun down one of the militants,” a senior police officer told Kashmir Reader.
He said that a search operation was going on to try and get hold of the other militants, believed to be two to three in number.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police SP Pani confirmed the killing of the militant and of the civilian in Khodweni.
Police described the slain militant, Farheen Wani, as a hardcore stone-pelter, wanted in many cases of unlawful activities.
Locals told Kashmir Reader that Farheen was a Class 12 student before he joined Hizb ranks in June last year.
Soon after the news of Farheen’s killing reached Khodweni, hundreds of youth hit the streets and held protest demonstrations against his killing. The protesting youth reached the SKUAST campus in Khodweni, which houses the army, and started clashes with the government forces deployed there.
Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid told Kashmir Reader that the youths pelted stones at the army, which opened fire, killing one and injuring another.
“One youth was killed while another was injured after army fired at the people pelting stones at them,” Vaid said.
The locals, however, told Kashmir Reader that police and army were both present at the spot and it was hard to tell who opened fire.
“Clashes were going on. It’s hard to pinpoint which among the two, police or army, opened fire,” the locals said. “Two youth were injured and they were rushed to Anantnag district hospital.”
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Anantnag, Dr Fazil Kochak said that the slain youth was shot in the neck and succumbed soon after he was brought to the hospital.
“The injured youth, Yasir Dar, is under treatment with an injury to his shoulder. He is stable,” Kochak said.
Intense clashes erupted in Khodweni area soon after Khalid’s body reached his village. Thousands of people reached the village to get a last glimpse of the slain youth.
Fardeen’s body was yet to be handed over to his family when this report was being filed.
Authorities snapped mobile internet services in Anantnag and Kulgam districts soon after the gunfight erupted in Kokernag. Train services were also suspended on the Srinagar-Banihal track later in the day.