Army major, havaldar injured; 7 civilians wounded, 3 critically by bullets, in clashes
Anantnag: Three militants of the Jaish-e-Muhammad, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), and an army soldier were killed in a 4-hour-long gun battle between militants and government forces here in Yaripora area of Kulgam district on Sunday.
The bodies of the slain militants were yet to be retrieved when this report was filed.
An army officer of Major rank and a Havaldar were also injured during the gunfight. Besides, government forces’ action against locals protesting at the site of the gunfight left at least 7 civilians injured, three of them with bullets.
The slain DSP, a 2011 batch KPS officer, has been identified as Aman Thakur, son of Swami Raj Thakur, a resident of Gogla in Doda district in Jammu province.
Thakur is survived by his parents, wife and a six-year-old son. He was posted as DSP Operations in Yaripora area of Kulgam district for the last one and a half years now.
A senior police official from Kulgam district confirmed the fatalities from the site of the encounter while talking to Kashmir Reader.
“Though we are yet to retrieve the bodies of the militants but we believe three of them have been killed during the gunfight,” the official said.
The encounter took place in Tudigam village of Yaripora. As per police reports, a cordon and search operation was launched at about 2:00 PM, following inputs regarding presence of militants in the area.
“As the operation was being initiated, we came under heavy fire from militants, leaving one of our senior officers and three army men, including a Major, injured,” the official said.
He said that the injured were rushed to hospitals, but the DSP was declared brought dead and one of the wounded army men succumbed later at a Srinagar hospital.
“Our officer had bullet wounds in his throat,” the official said.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held for the slain officer, Aman Thakur, in Srinagar before his body was airlifted home in Jammu province.
Meanwhile, intense clashes erupted around the site of the gunfight between locals – including women – and government forces after hundreds of people tried to reach the site of the gunfight.
Announcements, local sources said, were made on public address systems of mosques urging people to come out and save the trapped militants.
Heeding the announcements, hundreds did come out and tried to reach the site of the gunfight.
Government forces, to disperse the advancing crowds, fired live ammunition, tear smoke shells and pellets, leaving at least 7 of the protestors injured.
“We received 7 injured. Three of them had bullet wounds and one had grievous pellet injury to his eye. We have shifted the four of them to Srinagar hospitals for specialised treatment,” a doctor at district hospital Kulgam said.
He said that the bullet-wounded people were in critical condition and the pellet-wounded may lose his eyesight.
“One woman was also brought in with a pellet injury. She was treated locally,” the doctor said.
Clashes continued in the area even after the encounter concluded and a combing operation was underway.
Mobile internet services were meanwhile snapped in Kulgam district soon after the gunfight started and remained curtailed till last reports came in.