Srinagar: Two militants and a civilian were killed in an operation carried by police and armed forces in Pampore area of South Kashmir leaving another civilian and a personnel of the army injured. A local militant surrendered before the forces amid the encounter.
The two militants are believed to be of Pakistani origin while the third – all of them from the proscribed Laskhkar e Toiba (LeT) outfit – has been identified as Khawar Sultan Mir, a resident of Pampore town. The civilian killed in the firing was identified as Abid Ahmad Mir of the nearby Meej locality.
According to the police statement, after launching the cordon and search operation Thursday (November 5) evening, the armed forces were fired upon by the militants that injured the two civilians. “In the first instance, both the injured civilians were immediately rescued and shifted to hospital for treatment. However, one of the injured – Abid – succumbed to his injuries, while the condition of other injured (civilian) is stated to be stable,” the police said.
The family of 17-year-old Abid, who worked as a milkman, however, believe that he was killed by the armed forces. “He has been shot on the forehead. The bullet pierced his head as soon as he went out from the gate of a house. It is Allah’s will that we lost him but, why was he shot when he was not associated with militancy?,” Abid’s grandfather Ghulam Mohideen Mir questioned.
His parents, two elder sisters and grandfather, all said they have lost hope in life. “He was a daily wager, why did they shoot him? He was not a militant. He was simply there with his milk-carriage,” Mir told NewsClick.
“My son had left home to earn his livelihood and not to lose his life, he was not a militant. He did not carry any weapon. The forces may claim he was a militant but he was not. He was an innocent milkman, he was deliberately shot and killed,” Abid’s mother alleged.
The police said that the operation was suspended in the intervening night of Thursday and Friday and the entire area was put under strict cordon. The operation, however, resumed in the wee hours next day and resulted in the killing of one of the militants.
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Later, the police offered an opportunity for the remaining militants to surrender and one of them did, making him the ninth militant to do so in an ongoing encounter this year. The operation ended on Friday afternoon with the killing of last remaining militant.
Earlier in September, the family of 45-year-old Kousar Riyaz, a local baker, made similar allegations against the armed forces for killing Kousar during an encounter. In July, the family of another Srinagar resident Bashir Ahmad Khan alleged forces shot at him from a point-blank range without provocation.
Over 50 civilians have been killed so far in violence or militancy related incidents in the region including a 4-year-old boy Nihaan from South Kashmir’s Kulgam. In June, three labourers were killed in a “stage-managed” gunfight and later passed off as militants until the family identified them as their kin, a month later.
As many as eight BJP workers have also been killed this year so far by suspected militants including youth leaders Waseem Bari of North Kashmir’s Bandipora and Fida Hussain of Kulgam.
According to police, over 200 militants have been killed in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, a majority of them – 190 – in Kashmir Valley. Earlier on November 1, government forces killed the top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (Hizb), Saifullah alias Doctor leaving the outfit, which is struggling to hold ground after years of sway, in a major crisis.