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Civilian Killed, Army Soldier Injured in Encounter at South Kashmir's Kulgam

Anees Zargar |
As many as 24 civilians and policemen killed in targeted killings this year alone

File Photo.

Srinagar: A civilian was killed and an army soldier was left injured after an encounter broke out between militants and government forces in the Redwani area of Kulgam in South Kashmir on Friday, police officials said.

The civilian, identified as Manzoor Ahmad Lone, was a resident of Redwani Bala village in Kulgam, who had sustained bullet injuries but succumbed later. According to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police, an Army soldier Kiran Singh of the 1 Rashtriya Rifles- a resident of Ramban district was injured in the gunfight. He is currently under treatment at the 92 Base hospital in Srinagar. 

The encounter between security forces and the militants was reported during the day but continued until late at night. Officials privy to the operation, however, said that the militants were able to break free from the vicinity and a search operation is underway to locate them. 

The killing of Manzoor shocked the locals from his village who rushed late in the evening to his residence for solidarity. A local of Kulgam said that Manzoor had married last year and became a father just two months back. 

“Today on Aug 05, another innocent civilian fell to bullets in Kulgam. Another Kashmiri family shattered forever. Inna lillahi wa ina ilahi rajioun (sic). My deepest condolences with the family of Manzoor Ah Lone of Redwani, Kulgam. He had married last year, had a 2-month-old child,” National Conference (NC) spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar tweeted. 

Manzoor’s killing comes a day after suspected militants killed a non-local labourer in an attack that also left two others injured. The attackers, according to the police, hurled a grenade at non-local labourers at Gadoora village of Pulwama in South Kashmir. 

The deceased labourer was identified by the police as Mohd Mumtaz, a resident of Sakwa Parsa, Bihar while those injured were identified as Mohd Arif and Mohd Majbool, both hailing from the Rampur area of Bihar. Their condition is said to be stable. 

On the third anniversary of the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A, the police, however, said that the incidents of law and order in the restive region have dropped significantly since. Between 2016 and 2019, as many as 3,686 such incidents were reported in which 124 civilians were killed. There has been no such civilian killing, the police claimed, in the last three years since August 5, 2019.

The police also stated that as compared to 191 civilians killed in the militancy-related incidents before 2019, as many as 110 civilians have been killed since. This year as many as 24 civilians and policemen were killed in targeted killings alone carried out by the militant groups while Manzoor is the fourth civilian reportedly to have been killed in a ‘crossfire’.

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