Shopian: A civilian youth was killed and more than 25 others were injured, some of them with bullets, as government forces fired bullets and pellets to quell protests around the site of an ongoing encounter, here in Shopian district of south Kashmir on Wednesday.
The killed civilian has been identified as Umar Kumar, son of Abdullah Kumar, resident of Pinjoora village in Shopian district.
Kumar was shot in the chest and was declared dead on arrival at Shopian district hospital, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the district, Dr Abdul Rasheed, confirmed.
Another youth, identified as Inayat, also had a bullet wound in his chest and is fighting for his life at SMHS hospital in Srinagar, where he was referred to from Pulwama district hospital.
Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid maintained that an army patrol was attacked by militants in Turkewangam area of Shopian district.
“The army men opened retaliatory fire and in the cross-firing one civilian has been killed and, I am told, three to four others have been injured,” Vaid said.
He said that the militants have been cornered and a gunfight is going on.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that a contingent of army came and cordoned off a rather small locality in Turkewangam village.
“Some militants might have escaped the cordon. However, there may yet be three to four militants trapped in the area,” a source told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the militants have been cornered in a house near the government higher secondary school in the area.
As soon as the cordon was laid, sources said, hundreds of youth came out and started to march towards the site where militants were believed to be holed up.
“The army was meanwhile joined by police and the CRPF. Together the forces used brute force to try and quell the protests,” a local said.
As a result of the forces’ action, more than 25 people were injured. Most of them, 20 to be precise, were shifted to nearby Sub-District Hospital Zainapora.
“We received 20 injured. Three of them had bullet wounds and have been shifted to Srinagar for treatment. Others with pellet injuries are being treated here,” Medical Officer of the SDH, Dr Samiullah said.
Two injured, with bullet wounds to their legs, were also under treatment at Anantnag district hospital, doctors at the hospital said.
Clashes were going on in Turkewangam area while this report was filed. Local sources said that so many tear smoke shells were fired by the forces that the visibility in the village early evening dropped to almost zero.
There were also rumours that the militants may have escaped the site of the gunfight, but no official has confirmed the news so far.