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Three LeT militants killed in Chattabal encounter

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Youth ‘moved down by police vehicle’ in Noorbagh

From the ruins of the house damaged during Chattabal encounter, a local looks out as the security forces conclude the operation. —PHOTO/Javed Khan

Srinagar, May 04: Three militants were killed in a gunfight with government forces in Chattabal area of Srinagar city on Saturday while a teenaged youth was also killed after a police vehicle allegedly ran over him in Noorbagh area during subsequent clashes.

Four government forces’ personnel were also injured in the gunfight but all of them are stated to be stable.

The militants, according to the police, were planning to carry out a major strike ahead May 07, when State government offices were to reopen in Srinagar after shifting from Jammu, the winter capital of the state as part of bi-annual ritual of ‘Darbar Move’.

The operation was launched in the wee hours at Gasi Mohalla Chattabal, in the outskirts of the city, when personnel of Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police and Quick Action Team (QAT) of the CRPF cordoned off an under-construction building in the area following an input that three militants were holed up inside the premises.

“Our first aim was to ensure that civilians around the area were safe and after ensuring that, police and CRPF personnel moved into the building and were fired upon by the terrorists holed up there,” Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) Swayam Prakash Pani said here after the operation.

The gunfire was effectively replied and in the ensuing operations, all the three militants were killed, he said, adding four security personnel were injured in the incident. All of them are were stable now.

“The operation was swift and over in four hours with no collateral damage,” Pani claimed, adding “On the basis of the materials recovered from the site, it was found that the terrorists belonged to the outlawed Lashker-e-Taiba.”

One of the three militants was identified as Fayyaz Ahmed Hammal, who has been active for past one year.

Officials said he is about 30 years of age and a resident of Khanka-e-Mohalla in downtown of the city.

Police officials believe that Hammal, who was earlier working at a printing press, and “an active stone pelter, had been tasked to bring the two other militants, believed to be Pakistanis, to the city for carrying out an attack.”

The other two, according to doctors, were suffering from gangrene, a disease which is a result of frosbite that militants get while infiltrating from across the region in extreme cold conditions.

Saturday night police identified the second militant killed in Chattabal gunfight as top LeT commander from southern Pulwama district. An official identified him as Showkat Ahmad Tak of Panzgam, Awantipora.

He said Tak was active from past six to eight years, and had been close to LeT commanders like Abu Rehman, Abu Qasim and Abu Dujana.

The third militant was yet to be identified.

Besides three AK rifles, a huge quantity of ammunition, including five magazines each, and a medical kit were recovered from the militants, police said.

Soon after the encounter, the youth took to streets and clashed with police and paramilitary CRPF at Chattabal, Noor Bagh, Malik Sahib, Safa Kadal, Cement Kadal and adjoining areas.

All these areas are in the immediate periphery of the encounter site.

A civilian was killed at Noorbagh after an armoured police van allegedly ran over him during clashes in Noorbagh area.

Locals alleged that the youth Adil Ahmad Yadoo of Safa Kadal was injured critically after the SOG vehicle ran over him and was declared brought dead on arrival by the doctors at SMHS Hospital.

A purported video of the incident, showing youth falling down after being rammed by police vehicle has gone viral.

The locals and the netizens condemned the police for “deliberately” killing the youth.

Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of Adil Ahmad. Later, they took the coffin in a procession amid pro-freedom slogans to martyrs’ graveyard at Eidgah where he was laid to rest.

Meanwhile, police handed over the body of one of the slain militants —  Fayaz Ahmad Hamal of Fateh Kadal — to his family for last rites.

Tens of thousands of people later marched with the body of Hamal from his home towards the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of downtown Srinagar.

An eye witness said that thousands of people raising slogans in favour of Kashmir’s freedom marched with the body towards Jamia for his funeral prayers. Mourners who were carrying flags raised pro-freedom and pro-militant slogans.

Owing to the tensions, the authorities had suspended Internet services in entire Srinagar district as soon as the gunfight broke out early Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Mehmood Shah has paid tributes to the slain militants Fayaz Ahmad Hamal and his associates who were killed in a gunfight with government forces at Chattabal, Srinagar.

LeT spokesperson Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi in an emailed  statement quoted outfit’s chief Mehmood Shah as saying that “many Indian forces personnel including Assistant Commander of CRPF were killed in more than 10-hour-long encounter”.

“Martyrdoms are the key aspect of Jihad. Competing with an army equipped with modern warfare weaponry with mere Kalashnikov and few bullets is evidence to the bravery, boldness and defiance of freedom fighters,” Shah said.

Mehmood Shah also condemned the killing of a youth who “was trampled to death by Indian forces’ vehicle” and termed it as an “atrocity”.

  CM condemns killing of civilians in Kashmir

Srinagar, May 05: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today strongly condemned the killing of three civilians in the past 24 hours in various parts of the Valley.

In a statement, she reiterated that nobody’s interests were served by the killing of civilians, but the state was plunged into uncertainty and chaos.

She said the need of the hour was to get Jammu and Kashmir out of the vortex of violence for which all shades of opinion had to rise to the occasion.

Two civilians were killed in Hajin and one in Sopore by unknown gunmen during the past 24 hours.

Militants barged into the houses of Ghulam Hassan Dar alias Hassan Rassa and Bashir Ahmad Dar, both residents of Gulshan Mohalla, Shahgund Hajin in Bandipora district, last night and abducted them, a police official said.

“At about 3:30 am today, the militants shot both of them dead,” he said.

Last night, militants fired upon Mohammad Ashraf Mir at Harwan in Bomai area of Sopore township of the north Kashmir district, another police official said.

He said his wife was critically injured in the firing.

The Chief Minister conveyed her sympathies to the bereaved families and prayed for peace for the departed souls.

Taking strong note of the death of a youth at Noorbagh, Srinagar by a police vehicle today, Mufti directed the police to take legal cognisance of the incident, saying those found involved should be punished.

Driver detained for running vehicle over youth

Srinagar, May 5: A driver of Jammu and Kashmir Police was detained by police for allegedly running over a youth at Noorabad area in the outskirts of Srinagar city today, officials said.

After registering a case under section 304-A of Ranbir Penal Code (whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide), police detained the driver of the vehicle and legal action was being taken, a police official said.

Police said the post-mortem report said the man was hit by a speeding vehicle and there was no bullet injury on him.

“A man, identified as Adil Ahmad Yadoo, was brought to the SMHS hospital, where the doctors declared him brought dead. According to the medical bulletin, he died in a road accident at Noorbagh,” a police spokesman said, adding that the place was nearly four to five km away from the encounter site.

“In this regard a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and proceedings have been initiated against the police driver and the vehicle seized,” a police spokesman said.

Separatists call for shutdown today

Srinagar, May 05: Denouncing the government for not allowing them to conduct a joint presser over the prevailing situation in Kashmir in the wake of “unabated” civilian deaths, the separatists on Saturday said the ruling regime once again resorted to “undemocratic means of caging the resistance leadership” either in their homes or in police stations as part of its “massive crackdown on the pro-freedom camp”.

In a joint statement issued today, separatist trio of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik while condemning the “police crackdown on the resistance camp”, said that every space for any kind of expression or interaction for leadership and people stands completely chocked.

“If this policy continues, the situation will come to such a pass where it will completely get out of control; the onus of which will be on the ruling dictators,” they said.

They also paid tributes to three militants including Fayaz Ahmed Hammal of Khankah-e-Moula Srinagar, who were killed in an encounter with government forces at Chattabal area of Srinagar.

“The priceless sacrifices of lives offered by our youth for realization of people’s will and aspirations will not go in vain. While these armed youth are holed up in a house, the Indian forces blew it up, razing it to the ground, killing them, and destroying other adjacent houses and causing injuries to many,” the joint statement said.

Condemning the killing of young man Aadil by a police vehicle “which mercilessly mowed him down” near Noorbagh, the separatists said that “unaccountability for their crimes has made the forces in Kashmir utterly contemptuous of the life of Kashmiris and they don’t think twice about their actions”.

“What is worse is that after these murders, they have the absolute brazenness to lie about it as in Adil’s case saying that he died in ‘a traffic accident’,” the joint statement said, adding the video clearly shows how cruelly he was killed.

They separatist trio called for complete shutdown Sunday “to protest such a brutal killing”.

They also condemned the killing of three persons in north Kashmir’s Sopore and Hajin areas at the hands of unknown gunmen and termed it unjustified.

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