Two militants, civilian killed in Kashmir’s Shopian; separatists issue strike call

Twenty others were injured on Tuesday in clashes between stone-pelters and security forces near an encounter site in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir where two militants were killed.

india Updated: Jul 10, 2018 20:31 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Jammu and Kashmir,Shopian,Civilian
Tamsheel Ahmad Khan of Vehil in Shopian died after suffering head injuries during the clashes near Kundullan, a police official said. (Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)

Two militants were killed in an encounter with security personnel in South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday. A civilian also succumbed to police bullets while 123 others suffered injuries in clashes near the encounter site as scores of villagers tried to help the trapped militants escape.

Sources said the Army’s Rashtriya Rifles and the state police’s special operation group launched a joint search at Kundallan village on Tuesday morning, after they received inputs on the presence of militants there. Realising that they were trapped, the militants opened fire on the security personnel – injuring two of them. The encounter that followed lasted till afternoon.

Director general of police SP Vaid said the bodies of two terrorists were recovered from the site of the encounter. “They were affiliated to the Jaish-e-Mohammad group,” he added.

A police spokesperson said civilians living in adjoining houses had to be evacuated before security personnel could launch an all-out offensive. “Two militants – identified as local resident Sameer Ahmad Sheikh and Babar from Pakistan – were killed in the operation that followed,” he said. While the spokesperson identified Babar as a militant commander who used to attack Indian forces frequently, he described Sheikh as a school dropout who had taken up anti-establishment activities in April.

The spokesperson said people from neighbouring villagers tried to help the militants escape while the operation was still in progress. As many as 123 people were injured in retaliation by security personnel, and one of them – Tamsheel Ahmad Khan from Vehil village in Shopian – succumbed en route to the hospital.

Shopian chief medical officer Abdul Rashid said six of the 123 injured bore bullet wounds while as many as 17 were hit in the eyes.

The encounter also cost another life, albeit in an indirect manner. Muhammad Ishaq Naikoo suffered a cardiac arrest after he was falsely informed that his son, Zeenat, was among the militants holed up in the building besieged by security personnel. He was rushed to the hospital, but to no avail.

Eight civilians have been killed in the state since the imposition of governor’s rule on June 20. Three civilians – including a 16-year-old girl – were killed and two others injured by army personnel in neighbouring Kulgam last week.

Even as governor NN Vohra asked top army and police officers to avoid killing civilians, the joint resistance leadership called for a day-long strike on Wednesday to protest the alleged high-handedness of security personnel in this regard. “Kashmir turns into a graveyard of its own people by Indian forces as 3 more civilians die today,” tweeted Mirwaiz, asking the people to register their condemnation through the strike.

First Published: Jul 10, 2018 16:43 IST