Civilian shot dead, 21 others injured in clashes
Anantnag: Five local boys who had joined militant ranks in recent times were killed today in a gunfight with government forces, here in Qazigund area of Kulgam district in south Kashmir.
A civilian was also killed during clashes near the site of the encounter, after he received a bulltet.
The slain civilian has been identified as 22-year-old Rauf Ahmad Ganaie, son of Saleem Ahmad, resident of Anchidora area on the outskirts of main town Anantnag.
“He was shot in the chest,” a doctor at Anantnag district hospital said.
The clashes at the encounter sight continued even after the gunfight was over.
More than 21 civilians were injured, two of them with bullets and the rest by pellets, as government forces tried to quell protests around the site of the encounter.
“The injured are stable. Two with bullet wounds and two with pellet injuries have been shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment,” a health official told Kashmir Reader.
The slain militants were identified as Gulzar Ahmad Padder alias Saif of Adijan, Kulgam; Faisal Ahmad Rather alias Dawood of Yamrach, Kulgam; Zahid Ahmad Mir alias Hashim of Okey, Kulgam; Zahoor Ahmad Lone alias Rehman Bhai of Nagnad, Kulgam; and Masroor Molvi alias Abu Darda of Fatehpora, Anantnag.
The police said these militants were involved in a number of attacks on government forces and civilians.
The gunfight started at about 3:00 AM Saturday in Chawgam village of Qazigund. “The operation was launched at about 1:00 AM, following which searches were carried out in the area and civilians were evacuated to safer places,” a senior police official told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the militants opened fire when they sensed they were trapped, in the residential house they were holed up in.
“The fire was retaliated, triggering a gunfight which continued for more than five hours before the militants were eliminated,” the police official said.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that forces used explosives to bring down the huge house from within which the militants were fighting.
“The house belonged to a retired army man, Manzoor Ahmad Ganaie. It has been razed to ground with explosives,” the local source said.
From the debris of the house forces dug out bodies of the five militants and the arms they were carrying.
The bodies were later handed over to the families in different parts of Kulgam district and one in Anantnag. Massive funerals were held for the militants, where thousands of people were in attendance.
The mourners chanted pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans at the funerals.
Earlier in the day, violent clashes had erupted around the site of the encounter and continued for the better part of the day.
Thousands of youth had assembled near the site of the encounter, even as the flow of news remained halted in wake of an internet gag in Anantnag and Kulgam districts.
The authorities had also suspended train services on Srinagar-Banihal track. A complete, spontaneous shutdown was observed in most parts of Anantnag and Kulgam districts.