Srinagar: Nearly a dozen civilians were injured on Friday as clashes broke out during a military operation, in which three militants were killed by the security forces in Kakapora village, located in Pulwama area of South Kashmir.
Two of the slain militants were allegedly involved in an attack on Thursday in Nowgam area of Srinagar outskirts. The attack at the residence of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Anwar Khan resulted in the death of a policeman.
The involvement of militants killed in Pulwama was confirmed by Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar who claimed that yesterday’s attack was jointly carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Al-Badr outfit.
“We had arrested an over ground worker, Ishfaq Ahmad who provided a tip-off about where the militants were hiding. We established contact with the militants at about 4:35 am,” IGP Vijay Kumar said.
Eye-witnesses told NewsClick that the gunfight had ended by 10 am, following which the armed forces blasted the house of Abdul Rahim Dar where the militants were reportedly cornered. Two of the injured were referred to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital including a woman identified as 24-year-old Ishrat Jan, who had suffered a bullet injury in her hip. Another civilian identified as 42-year-old Ghulam Nabi Dar had both bullet and pellet injuries.
“Their condition is stable,” the official said.
As the gunfight ensued, scores of protesters led a demonstration against the armed forces and threw stones at them. This was followed by the forces carrying out heavy tear gas shelling and using pellet shotguns, which injured several people. Many of the injured were shifted to a local hospital. The shops and business establishments remained shut as the situation escalated in the area.
“The armed forces damaged our property including many cars on the roads. They even beat up locals including women... they are not just targeting the militants but locals as well,” a local of Samboora said.
“Dar is an elderly person and is suffering from illness from a long time. His elder son is the only bread earner in his family and now his house is destroyed,” said a neighbour of Abdul Rahim Dar, whose house was blasted.
The slain militants were identified as Suhail Nisar Lone and Yasir Wani – both residents of Khrew area in Pulwama – and Junaid Ahmad, a resident of Prisu village in Pulwama. All the militants, according to the top police officer, had recently joined the militants ranks.
“The first two had joined in February this year while the third one had joined the militant ranks in March. Suhail and Junaid were allegedly involved in the Nowgam attack,” he said, Kumar added that two other militants, identified as Obaid and Shahid, were also involved in the attack on BJP leaders’ residence.
The police also claimed to have recovered an AK47 rifle, a pistol and an SLR rifle, reportedly snatched by militants from the slain cop during the Nowgam attack.
The IGP, while addressing a presser in Srinagar after the operation, added that the owner of the house where the encounter occurred will be booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as his vehicle was also found to be used in the attack.
Close to two dozen militants have been killed in the region so far, most of them locals of South Kashmir. The militants have also carried out few dramatic attacks on security installations and two recent attacks on BJP members, killing three of them.
At least nine police and paramilitary personnel have been killed either during the attacks or in the gunfights so far this year. This includes three recent attacks in and around Srinagar, in which three CRPF personnel and three policemen were killed in separate incidents indicating a spike in violence within the city bounds. According to police, as many as six militants are currently active in Srinagar.