Photojournalists thrashed by police at gunfight site
Anantnag: Two militants of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), one of them a businessman from Pampore town who had gone missing some 10 days back, were killed on Friday in a brief gunfight with government forces here in Sangam area of south Kashmir’s Awantipora police district.
The slain militants have been identified as Irfan Ahmad Digu alias Abu Zarar, a resident of Nayina-Batpora village in Litter area of Pulwama district, and Tasadduq Amin Shah, a resident of Kadlabal locality in Pampore of Pulwama district.
Irfan, the police reports suggest, had been an active militant for more than a year now. “He was involved in planning and executing several attacks on security forces and civilians in the past,” a senior police official told Kashmir Reader.
Tasadduq had gone missing on the night of June 3, soon after a civilian was shot dead in Pantha Chowk area on the outskirts of Srinagar.
Police have maintained that Tasadduq was involved in the killing of the civilian. He worked as a marketing executive for a private firm, before he went missing. Tasadduq was married and had two children.
The gunfight today took place in Bandena village near Sangam area of Anantnag district. The area, however, falls within the jurisdiction of police district Awantipora.
A joint team of government forces cordoned off the area at about 8:30 AM Friday morning, following inputs regarding presence of militants in the area.
“As the cordon was being laid, the militants, hiding in a residential house, opened fire in a bid to escape. The fire was retaliated and both the militants were killed,” a senior police official from Awantipora told Kashmir Reader.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that the government forces set ablaze the house in which the militants were holed up. “The flames and the heat forced the militants to rush out of the house. They were killed the minute they ventured out of the house,” local sources said.
Intense clashes erupted around the site of the gunfight and lasted the length of the gunfight. No one was reported injured during the clashes even though government forces used tear smoke shells and pellet guns to disperse the protesting youth.
The bodies of the militants were retrieved by the government forces soon after. Later in the day, the bodies were handed over to the families after completion of medico-legal formalities.
Thousands of people reached Nayina-Batpora and Pampore areas to attend the multiple funeral prayers held for the slain militants.
The authorities, meanwhile, snapped mobile internet services in many parts across four districts of south Kashmir, soon after the gunfight started this morning.
Trains services on the Srinagar-Banihal track were also suspended for the day today.
At least two photojournalists were thrashed near the site of the gunfight in Sangam by policemen, including at least one officer.
The photojournalists, Kamran Yousuf and Nisar-ul-Haq, said that they were clicking pictures at the site of the gunfight when a police officer approached them and snatched their cameras.
“On questioning such highhandedness, the officer manhandled us. He kept our cameras with him till the operation was over,” they said.
SSP Awantipora Tahir Saleem said that he will inquire about the incident.
“It has come to my notice. Though, I believe, my officers will not indulge in such an act, the allegations will be looked into,” Saleem told Kashmir Reader.