A complete shutdown is being observed in the valley on Monday on the call by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), with all shops, business establishments, educational institutes, private and government offices closed. The JRL, comprises Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik.
It was another ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Kashmir in which eight people were killed, including one civilian, one army man, six militants, and more than 50 people were injured.
An 18-month-old toddler was the youngest to be injured by pellets among 20 civilians in the southern part of Kashmir, which turned into a war zone, soon after government forces killed six.
At the crack of dawn, forces launched cordon and search operation (CASO) at Batagund Kapran an area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district, the hotbed of the armed resistance movement in Kashmir.
After establishing the whereabouts of the militants, a gunfight started between the forces and the militants. Initially, the huge exchange of fire took place. Four militants were killed outside the house when they tried to break the cordon and two were killed inside the house.
During the exchange of fire, an army man was killed. Police official identified him as Nazir Ahmad of 162 Territorial Army and was currently with 34 RR. Nazir is said to be resident of Ashmuji Kulgam.
The encounter lasted for about three hours and all the militants were killed. Dead bodies of six militants were retrieved from the site.
The slain militants were identified by the police officials as Umar Majid Ganai alias Hanzullah son of Abdul Majid Ganie resident of Shuch Kulgam (Hizbul Mujahedeen’s commander), Waseem Wagay son of Abdul Hamid Wagay resident of Amshipora, Shopian (HM), Abbas Sheikh resident of Mantribug Shopian (HM) and Mushtaq Ahmad Mir resident of Chak-e- Choland (Lashkar-e-Toiba commander), Khalid Farooq Malik resident of Alyalpora Shopian (HM).
According to officials, from the material evidence collected, one militant is learnt to be a foreigner from Pakistan.
While Umer and Mushtaq had joined Hizb and LeT in 2015 and 2014, Abbas and Waseem joined the militant ranks in 2016 and Khalid had joined the militant outfit in April this year.
Also Read: Kashmir: Rise in Local Youth Joining Militant Ranks While Home Minister says Situation's Better
Forces used tear gas canisters, pellets and live ammunition to “disperse” the protestors, who had allegedly gathered to help the militants break the cordon and were raising slogans in favour of the militants.
Numan Ashraf, a 16-year-old boy, a student of 10th standard travelled at least 9-10 kilometres from Bolus Yaripora an area of Kulgam district to participate in the protest.
As per reports, in the response to the pellets and bullets, protestors pelted stones which led to the heavy clashes in the area. Thousands of people were on the roads to protest against high-handedness by the forces.
An eyewitness (name withheld) while speaking to NewsClick claimed that forces used live ammunition directly at the protestors.
Numan received a bullet on his forehead and was immediately rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.
More than 50 people were injured during clashes, according to the sources, 14 had bullet injuries and 16 had pellet injuries, including an 18-month-old baby girl Hiba Nisar.
Her father Nisar Ahmad and his wife Fancy Jan with Hiba in her lap, had locked themselves in a room when clashes had started.
“One of the of pepper gas canister landed in our courtyard which caused suffocation, we all were coughing continuously,” Nisar told NewsClick. “We tried to go out, once we opened the gate, a CRPF fired pellets from a distance which injured my daughter eyes while in Fancy’s hand.”
Hiba and other injured were shifted to Sheri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) Srinagar where doctors treated all the injured.
Hiba was injured by a pellet in her right eye and. as per reports, doctors said she was vomiting continuously and had to undergo surgery
The killing of a teenager and Hiba’s injury further added fuel to the protests and the clashes intensified. Meanwhile, relatives of slain militants went to the District Police Line (DPL) Shopian which is 25 kilometres from encounter site, to receive the bodies.
As the situation worsens, authorities have suspended internet services in the district to stop the dissemination of news in the area.
Speaking to NewsClick, one of the militant’s relative (wishing anonymity) said that relatives of all the six militants went to DPL but the authorities refused to hand over the bodies. People outside raised anti-police slogans and demanded bodies.
“Forces came out of DPL and trigged pepper and tear gas canisters to disperse people, they fired indiscriminately and many got injured, he claimed
People in Kashmir regularly come out during the CASO led by the government forces, helping the militants to break the cordon.
Hajira Begum, 38, who lives meters away from the encounter site said: “I participated in the protest, people who were trapped in the house are among us and they are fighting for us. The forces or government might label them terrorists, but they are our own people”.
A police official told NewsClick that they had asked family members to wait till the evening for the dead bodies but they refused and tried to enter the DPL.
On the evening of the same day, unidentified people set a panchayat house on fire in Batagund Kapran.
However, police and personnel of fire and emergency services rushed to the spot and doused the fire.
Taking situation into the consideration, authorities of Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora (IUST) postponed all examinations scheduled to be held on Monday. These will now be held on November 27.