Four civilians were killed and about 50 others injured on Sunday in violence in south Kashmir, where 13 militants of different outfits, were gunned down by security forces in three encounters since last night.
Three soldiers were also martyred and several others were wounded in these encounters. “It’s unfortunate that stone pelting around encounter sites cost four civilian deaths,” Director General of Police (DGP) said here on Sunday night.
A youth, identified as Mehraj-ud-Din Bhat, who was injured in Kachidoora in Shopian in security force firing, succumbed to his injuries on way to District Hospital Pulwama. Another youth, identified as Iqbal Bhat, succumbed to his injures, which he received during clashes in the same area in south Kashmir, at S K Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura in Srinagar.
Earlier, two civilians — Mushtaq Ahmad Thoker and Zubair Ahmad Bhat — were killed near encounter sites. Thokar was owner of the house where militants were hiding in Darad village in Shopian.
“Encounter concluded. Two more bodies of militants recovered in Kachidoora in Shopian. In all 13 militants killed, 3 soldiers martyred and one militant caught alive,” Dr Vaid said.
He said seven militants, all locals, were killed at Dragad while another was gunned down at Dayalgam Anantnag and another was arrested. “Five were killed in Kachidoora encounter,” he added.
Meanwhile, Inspector General (IG) Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Zulfikar during a press conference this afternoon appealed to people not to go near the encounter sites as it was dangerous. However, he warned that operation against militants would continue even after demonstrations.
Dr Vaid said the owner of the house, where militants were hiding was killed in the firing at Dragad Shopian. He said at Kachidora in Shopian a civilian was killed when security forces had to open fire to maintain law and order.
The DGP said during massive protests in south Kashmir, particularly near the encounter sites, 25 civilians received pellet injuries while six others were hit by bullets. He expressed hope that condition of all the injured is stable.
Dr Vaid expressing grief over the killing of youths, appealed all those who had joined the militancy to return home and join the national mainstream. He further appealed to parents of militants to persuade them to shun the path of violence and return to home.
The IG CRPF said he endorsed the appeal of Dr Vaid. However, he said, security forces will take every action against all those who will violate law. “We appeal to people to stay away from areas where encounter between militants and security forces erupts. Anybody can get killed in the firing,” he said.
He said demonstration or no demonstrations security forces will continue operations against militants. Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir S P Pani said that internet service in the south Kashmir has been suspended to prevent rumours. He said the situation in Srinagar was normal.
Official source said that as the demonstrators tried to break the security cordon and march towards the encounter sites, security forces burst teargas shells, which had no impact as the demonstrators, who were pelting stones.
Security forces opened fire besides fired pellets to control the stone pelting mob, they said, adding that several dozen youth were injured at both the encounter site. Locals alleged that security forces did not allow ambulances carrying wounded civilians to Srinagar hospital to move ahead near Bandzu Bridge in Pulwama.
As many as 13 militants, including top commanders were killed, and another surrendered in three different encounters in south Kashmir on Sunday. Massive protests were going on when the reports last came in almost entire south Kashmir, where mobile internet services have been suspended since last night to prevent spread of any rumours.