S. Tariq/ Aaqib Naik

South Soaks In Blood On Sunday

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13 militants; three troopers; four civilians killed in three encounters

The deadly day in pictures/ Muneeb Ul Islam

Anantnag/ Shopian:  South Kashmir today soaked in blood as 20 lives were lost during three encounters and subsequent clashes in Shopian and Anantnag districts.

13 militants, three soldiers and four civilians were killed in three encounters between security forces and militants and subsequent clashes. Over 100 civilians were injured in clashes that erupted near the gunfight sites while Police claimed to have arrested one militant.

In Dayalgam (Anantnag) encounter, one Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant was killed and another apprehended.

Sources said that the killed militant was identified as Raouf Bashir from Dooru while as the arrested militant was identified as Aadil from Satakpora, Anantnag.

In another encounter at Draghad in Shopian, seven militants were killed, sources said.

The slain militants were identified as Adil Ahmed Thoker of Humhuna, Nazim Dar of Nagbal, Ubaid Shafi Malla of Trenz, Yawar Itoo of Safanagri, Rayees Ahmed Thoker of Padarpora, Zubair Turay of Shopian and Ashfaq  Malik of Pinjura.

Apparently this group had joined HM in the summer of 2017 and were involved in series of cases of attacks on civilians and security forces, a police spokesman said.

Police said that some of the slain militants were involved in the killing of Lt. Umer Fayaz.

All the bodies have been handed over to families for their last rites, police said.

One civilian, owner of the house where militants were hiding, too was killed during the encounter, sources said.

Identifying the deceased civilian as Mushtaq Ahmad Thoker, a Police spokesman said that at Draghad, while the search party entered the target house, they found body of one Mushtaq Ahmad Thoker along with the dead militants.

At Kachdoora, sources said, five militants were killed in the encounter.

While the police  confirmed that only four militants were killed in the encounter there, adding Police was ascertaining facts about the fifth, sources said that the fifth one, believed to be a militant, too succumbed.

“Encounter concluded. One more terrorist body recovered from Shopian encounter site. In all 12 terrorists neutralised  (one more being ascertained), 3 soldiers martyred and 1 terrorist caught alive. It’s unfortunate that stone pelting around encounter site cost 4 civilian deaths, DG tweeted.

Army sources also confirmed the killing of fifth militant.

Two of the killed militants have been  identified as Ishfaq Thokar resident of Paddarpora Shopian and Aitmad Hussain Dar resident of Amshipora, Shopian, Police said.

A civilian, identified as Zubair Ahmad Bhat, was killed and over 100 others were injured after they tried to march towards the gunfight sites in Dragad and Kachdoora.

The third civilian, identified as Mehraj-ud-din Bhat, was killed in forces' firing in Kachdoora. He was declared dead on arrival at district hospital Pulwama.

The fourth civilian, identified as Iqbal Bhat was declared dead on arrival at SKIMS Soura.

Police said that at Kachdoora three army men laid down their lives in line of duty and a civilian namely

"We caught one militant alive and one was killed, in Anantnag. Two army jawans lost their lives in the ongoing operation. Few J&K police, CRPF, and Army personnel have suffered injuries," tweeted SP Vaid, DGP, J&K.

However, ChinarCorps tweeted: Update #OpKachhdora (#Shopian). One more dead body of #terrorist recovered during search operation. Total #five #terrorists eliminated in this operation

Meanwhile, an official at district hospital Shopian confirmed that fifty injured were brought to the facility. “Twenty among them were referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment. Two of them had bullet injuries while most of them were hit by pellets,” he said.

Thirty protesters were brought to district hospital Kulgam for treatment.

Two protesters with firearm injury were brought to District Hospital Anantnag for treatment, said an official at the facility. “Two were hit by bullets while two others were hit by pellets,” he said.

At least ten youth in the age group 16 to 26 with eye pellet injuries were brought to SMHS hospital from south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday, officials said.

“After preliminary examination, the injured are being examined for extent of damage through CT Scan and other tests,” said a doctor.

Earlier, at a hurriedly called joint press conference of Army, police and CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir Police chief S P Vaid said this is one of the biggest counter-offensives in recent times against terror groups operating in the Kashmir Valley.

At the press conference called at Victor Force headquarters at Awantipura, Lt Gen A K Bhatt, termed it one of the biggest operations in recent times and said the death of Lt Umar Fayaz, who was brutally killed in Shopian last year, had been avenged.

"Among the militants killed are Ishfaq Malik and Thokar. They were responsible for his death," Bhatt said.

Fayaz, 22, was killed by militants in May last year. His body was found with bullet wounds in the Hermain area of Shopian district in south Kashmir.

The DGP also made a special mention of SSP Anantnag’s efforts to convince a militant to surrender during the Dialgam encounter.

"I would like to make a special mention about the Dialgam encounter where our Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) made a special effort, which is unheard of in any part of the world.

"He called the family members of one of the terrorists. They spoke with him for 30 minutes, to convince him to surrender," the officer said.

"Unfortunately, he did not heed the advice of his family. During the talks, the district SSP tried to get him over. Instead he fired on the police leaving the police with no option other than to retaliate. He was killed. The other one was caught alive," he said.

 

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