8 civilians injured by pellets in clashes during six-hour-long gunfight
Anantnag: Five militants of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) were killed by government forces in a gunfight in Kelam village of Kulgam district on Sunday. The slain militants were all locals: Waseem Bashir Rather of Ashmuji Kulgam, Zahid Parray of DH Pora Kulgam, Idrees Bhat of Arwini Anantnag, Aqib Nazir of Zangal Pora Kulgam, and Parvaiz Bhat of Qaimoh Kulgam.
Idrees had joined militant ranks in 2017 and the rest of them in different months of 2018.
As per SSP Kulgam Harmeet Singh, a cordon and search operation following information about presence of militants was launched in Kelam area in the wee hours of Monday.
“The militants, after contact was established, were asked to surrender, but they opened fire leading to a gunfight,” Singh said, adding that the gunfight continued for more than six hours before all the five militants were killed.
There was no collateral damage, he said. However, a house where the militants were hiding was damaged during the gunfight.
Police said that weapons and incriminating material was found upon the militants.
Families of the militants were called in for identification. The bodies were yet to reach the villages of these militants when this report was filed.
Thousands of people were waiting in the villages of the slain militants for the bodies to arrive.
Meanwhile, more than 10 civilians were injured during clashes that erupted around the site of the gunfight, early in the morning. The clashes continued through the course of the gunfight.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that hundreds of youths tried to reach the encounter site in Kelam. “To disperse them, police used tear smoke shells and pellet guns,” they said.
In pellet firing by government forces, more than 10 people were injured, among whom 8 were shifted to Kulgam district hospital.
“We received 8 people with pellet injuries. While six were treated here, two of them with pellet injuries to their eyes were shifted to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar for further treatment,” a health official from Kulgam told Kashmir Reader.
The authorities snapped mobile internet services in Kulgam district minutes after the gunfight erupted this morning. The services were yet to be restored when this report was filed.