Six, including three militants, killed in a spate of Kashmir encounters

Authorities have suspended Internet services in south and central Kashmir, including Srinagar.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2018 18:18 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
jammu kashmir,militancy in J-K,noorbagh
Visuals from the encounter underway in Budgam’s Chadoora, on Thursday morning. (ANI/Twitter)

Three militants and a soldier were killed in two separate encounters, a civilian died in firing during a cordon and search operation and an unidentified man was shot dead in an army ambush in Kashmir on Thursday.

The search operations and gunfights in Anantnag, Budgam and Srinagar started almost simultaneously early Thursday.

An army spokesman said that the encounter in Anantnag ensued during searches in Gasigund area and left a militant and a soldier dead.

The militant was a local identified as Asif Malik, operating as a commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba. “He was involved in several attacks on security forces including the killing of CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) men at Achabal this year and in many other cases of civilian atrocities,” a police spokesman said.

The killed soldier has been identified as Sepoy Happy Singh of 19 Rashtriya Rifles, and a resident of Bathinda in Punjab.

In Srinagar’s Noorbagh, police said they launched searches and cordoned a cluster of houses looking for militants, but the hiding militants fired indiscriminately resulting in death of an individual identified as Saleem Malik, 26, son of Mohammad Yaqoob Malik.

A senior police officer said that the civilian was killed in cross-firing while the militants managed to escape.

However, the family of the killed youth denied that he was killed in cross-firing and blamed security forces for his targeted killing. “He owned a flock of sheep and during the night he woke up due to some noise outside. He thought that were thieves and came out to have a look at the shed. The forces opened fire on him when he was trying to have a look outside the courtyard,” said Malik’s uncle, Mohammad Yaseen.

Malik’s death led to protests in the area. Security forces fired tear gas shells to disperse youth who pelted stones after the funeral at the Martyrs’ Graveyard at Eidgah.

Separatists under Joint resistance Leadership condemned the civilian killing and have called for a shutdown on Friday, alleging that state terror has been unleashed under cordon and search operations to wipe out Kashmiris.

In Budgam’s Pandan Chadoora, the security forces initially tread cautiously as the militants fired on a search party from a mosque, according to police. Officials said that they involved the local auqaf (mosque management) who tried to convince the holed-up militants to surrender but they refused, leading to the encounter.

“We tried to maintain the sanctity of that place but militants fired indiscriminately that many of our men including two army men and a CRPF jawan were injured. The militants were ultimately killed,” said Budgam superintendent of police Tejinder Singh.

Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said that they resorted to “controlled” firing and killed the militants after a “protracted” operation.

The two militants were locals and were identified as Shiraz Ahmad Bhat of Chadoor and Irfan Dar of Pulwama. Dar was working as Special Police Officer and had deserted the force a couple of months ago.

Authorities suspended mobile internet services in affected areas in south and central Kashmir, including Srinagar.

Restrictions were imposed in many parts of old city in Srinagar to prevent any escalation of protests and trace the militants.

‘Non-local’ killed in army ambush in Kupwara

An unidentified man was killed during an army ambush in Chowkibal area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara on Thursday, police said.

“He was killed in an army ambush. He was challenged and there were some warning shots during which he was hit by a bullet. He was given medical treatment, however he could not be saved,” Kupwara’s senior superintendent of police Ambarkar Shriram Dinkar, adding that they were trying to ascertain the identity of the man who appears to be a non-local.

First Published: Sep 27, 2018 07:59 IST