Srinagar: At least 49 militants and 30 civilians have been killed in Kashmir this year due to anti-insurgency operations carried out by the army, paramilitary, and police. The militants killed include “foreigners” believed to be from Pakistan, and one militant from Telangana. The majority of the militants have been killed in southern Kashmir areas.
January 8 marked the first “encounter” of the year in Zuhama village in restive Chadoora town of Budgam district. Following the gunfight in Budgam, another gunfight erupted at Larnoo village of Kokernag that lasted for around 4 hours and resulted in the killing of 1 militant. The slain militant was identified as Furqan Wani of Khudwani in Kulgam district.
The killing led to massive protests in south Kashmir. During one such protest, army troops opened fire and a civilian, Khalid Ahmad Dar, was hit by a bullet in his neck. He later succumbed to his injuries.
On January 16, a civilian who was injured during pro-militant protests in Batmurran village of Shopian district succumbed to his injuries. The slain was identified as Muhammad Ayoub Bhat, a resident of Mulu Chitragam.
In the encounter at Batmurran village, two Jaish-e-Muhammad militants were killed while in the subsequent protests a civilian woman was killed by government forces. The slain woman was identified as Ruby Jan.
On January 24, a gunfight erupted in Chaigund village of Shopian district after government forces laid siege to the village. Two militants, identified as Sameer Ahmad Wani, a resident of Oodo, and Firdous Ahmad of Ganawpora were killed. The gunfight witnessed intense pro-militant protests during which the government forces opened fire and killed a civilian, Shakir Ahmad Mir, resident of Qalampora Shopian.
On January 27, the entire Ganawpora belt in southern Kashmir was mourning the death of militant Firdous Ahmad who was killed three days back at Chaigund.
Witnesses said that while the residents were mourning and raising slogans in favour of the slain, a contingent of Indian Army reached the spot and opened fire, indiscriminately. The firing led to the killing of two civilians on the spot, while another sustained grievous injuries. The slain were identified as Javed Ahmad Bhat and Suhail Javed Lone. The injured civilian, Rayees Ahmad Ganai, 19, resident of Narpora Shopian, succumbed to his injuries on January 31.
On February 1, a boy who was injured by a “stray shell” at the Chaigund gunfight site also succumbed to his injuries. He was identified as Musharraf Fayaz, 10.
On February 13, two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants who, according to police, tried to enter a camp of Central Reserve Police Force at Karan Nagar were killed in a 30-hour-long gunfight. The slain militants were believed to be Pakistani nationals.
On March 4, government forces killed 3 civilians and 2 militants after the former ambushed a vehicle at Pahnoo village in Shopian. Although the army later said that they opened fire in retaliation, local residents contested the army’s claims. The slain militants killed in the ambush belonged to LeT and were identified as Shahid Ahmad Dar, a resident of Jamnagari Shopian, and Amir Ahmad Malik of Harmain.
The slain civilians were identified as Suhail Wagay of Pinjoora, Shahid Khan of Gund, and Shahnawaz Wagay of Mulu.
On March 12, government forces killed 3 militants in Hakoora village of Islamabad (Anantnag) district. One of the slain killed in the gunfight was believed to be from Telangana state of India. He was identified as Toufeeq, 26. The other two militants killed were Eisa Fazili of Soura Srinagar and Owais Ahmad of Kokernag. The three militants were believed to be affiliated with the Zakir Musa-led Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, said to be an offshoot of Al-Qaeda.
On March 16, a gunfight erupted in Khonmoh area on the outskirts of Srinagar city. Three militants were killed in the gunfight who were identified as Rasiq Nabi, a resident of Tral, Shabir Ahmad of Aghanjipora, and Abu Hamas of Pakistan.
On March 21, 5 foreign militants, believed to be Pakistanis, were killed by government forces in Halmatpora village of Kupwara district in northern Kashmir.
The Halmatpora gunfight lasted 48 hours. The gunfight begun on March 20 afternoon.
Three militants were killed on the first day of the encounter, and two were killed on Wednesday. All the five were laid to rest late night Thursday at 1am, at Rangward Chokibal, which is almost 60 kilometres away from the encounter site.
On March 24, a gunfight raged in Dooru area of Islamabad district. Two militants, believed to be Pakistanis, were killed.
On March 25, a gunfight erupted in Arizal village of Budgam district in which one militant, identified as Shafat Ahmad Wani of Wagoora, was killed.
In one of the biggest gunfights, in terms of killings, 13 militants were killed in three separate encounters in southern Kashmir on April 1. The gunfights took place in Anantnag and Shopian districts. Four civilians died after they tried to storm the encounter sites in a bid to help the militants escape. Two more civilians were killed in the subsequent protests in Kangan area of Ganderbal district.
On April 5, a gunfight raged in Kangan village of Pulwama district. One Hizb militant identified as Musavvir Hussain Wani, a resident of Dalipora, was killed.
On April 11, 4 civilians were killed by government forces during clashes in Khudwani when they were trying to save the militants trapped in a gunfight that ensued on April 10. The holed-up militants along with an alleged over-ground worker (OGW) managed to flee.
The gunfight had started on April 10 at 11pm when a joint team of army’s 1 RR, police SOG and paramilitary CRPF laid siege to Wani Mohalla area of Khudwani. The slain 4 civilians were identified as Sharjeel Sheikh, resident of Khudwani, Bilal Tantray, resident of Hawoora, Faisal Ilahi, resident of Melhoora, and Aijaz Ahmad Palla, resident of Batpora Nagbal.
On April 24, government forces killed 4 militants, among them 2 foreigners and 2 locals, in a gunfight at Tral in Pulwama district. The 2 local militants were identified as Abid Maqbool, a resident of Khangund, and Ishfaq Khan of Handoora.
On April 30, a gunfight in Drubgam village of Pulwama district led to the killing of popular militant commander Sameer Ahmad “Tiger” of Drubgam and Aqib Khan of Rajpora. One civilian Shahid Ahmad, a resident of Arihal village in Pulwama, was killed during clashes.
On May 2, government forces laid siege to Turkwangam village of Shopian district. As the forces were laying siege, civilians stormed the gunfight site and helped the militants escape. During the clashes with government forces, however, a civilian was killed. He was identified as Umar Kumar, a Class 8 student and resident of Pinjora.
On May 5, government forces in the wee hours laid siege to Arampora Chattabal area of Srinagar city. By afternoon, the gunfight ended with the killings of 3 militants.
The slain were identified as Fayaz Hamal, a resident of Khanqah-i-Moalla in old Srinagar. Showkat Tak, a resident of Pulwama, and a foreigner.
On May 6, a gunfight erupted in Badigam village of Shopian district. Around noon, the forces ended the operation and declared that 5 Hizb militants were killed. The slain militants included Saddam Padder, Dr Muhammad Rafi Bhat, Bilal Mohand, Adil, and Sheikh Touseef.
During the clashes with government forces, 5 civilians were killed. One of the inured later succumbed to injuries in SMHS Hospital.
The slain civilians were identified as Sajad Ahmad, a resident of Dooru Islamabad, Adil Ganai of Ashumji Kulgam, Zubair Ahmad Nengroo of Rajpora, Asif Mir of Ruhmoo, and Naseer Kumhar of Arihal.
Apart from these killings, on February 26, police said that a Hizbul Mujahideen militant who was captive was killed in a grenade blast at Tral police station.
Police officials said that the militant died while a policeman suffered injuries after militants hurled a grenade at Tral police station. However, Hizbul Mujahideen later in a statement refuted the police version and termed the killing of the militant as “custodial death”.