Aaqib Naik

Shopian Shocker Stuns All

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5 militants killed in encounter, 5 civilians in clashes


Troops in action at Shopian village. Photo/Muneeb Ul Islam

Shopian: In a major operation, the counter insurgency forces killed five Hizbul Mujahideen militants including a top commander and a fresh recruit — a university professor while as five civilians died, most of them of bullet injuries and blood loss, during clashes between protesters and law enforcing agencies near the encounter site.

“Five militants of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) were neutralised during an encounter at Badigam village in Shopian,” a police spokesman said here.

The encounter broke out less than 24 hours after the security forces killed three militants during a gunbattle in the Chattabal area in the heart of the city yesterday.

The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Badigam village in the Zainapora area of the south Kashmir district following specific information about the presence of militants there, sources said.

Official sources said top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Saddam Padder and a newly recruit Mohammad Rafi Bhat, an assistant professor in Kashmir University, were among the slain militants.

The other militants killed in the gunbattle were identified as Tauseef Shiekh, Aadil Malik and Bilal alias Molvi, all residents of south Kashmir.

Bhat, a contractual assistant professor in the Sociology Department of the university and a resident of the Chundina area of Ganderbal district, had gone missing on Friday. He had joined the militant ranks.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, S P Pani said the police made repeated attempts to persuade the professor to surrender, but to no avail.

“After receiving input about his presence there, we brought his family from Ganderbal to persuade him to surrender,” Pani said.

Two police officials and an Army personnel suffered minor injuries during the gunbattle, a police official said.

He said incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition, have been seized from the encounter site.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out between groups of stone-pelting youths and the security forces near the encounter site, leading to injuries to several protesters, the official said.

“A number of youths suffered injuries during the clashes and were rushed to hospitals. Of them, five have succumbed to injuries,” the official said.

The civilians who died were identified as Sajad Rather of Shehpora Dooru Anantnag; Zubair Ahmad Nengroo of Ayangund Rajpora, Pulwama; Yasir of Aadihala Pulwama; Adil Bashir Ganie of Mahgund AShmuji, Kulgam and Asif Ahmad Mir of Rohmu Pulwama.

Meanwhile, police issued a statement in the evening identifying the slain militants as Saddam Hussain Paddar of Heff, Shopian who was active since September, 2014; Bilal Ahmad Mohand of Heff Shirmal, Shopian, active since October, 2016; Adil Ahmad Malik of Malik Gund, Shopian, active since August, 2014; Tauseef Ahmad Sheikh of Rampora, Quimoh, active since 2013 and Mohammad Rafi Bhat of Ganderbal who had recently joined them.

Saddam Paddar and his associates were involved in a number of civilian killings and in terror attacks on Security Forces besides instigating youth to join terrorist network, the police spokesman said.

The spokesman said that Police made repeated attempts to make them surrender which did not materialize.

“During the encounter, unfortunately while handling a highly volatile situation civilians were injured in cross firing among them five civilians succumbed to their injuries. The condition of other injured persons is stated to be stable,” the police statement said.

“We once again reiterate that encounter sites are prohibitory zones and highly susceptible to cross firing so must be avoided by civilians,” the statement added.

Three security force personnel, including one policeman were injured and are under treatment at hospital, the statement further said.

Mobile Internet services have been snapped in south Kashmir districts and Ganderbal in central Kashmir, while the facility remained barred in Srinagar for the second consecutive day today.


CM grieved over civilian deaths, says guns cannot resolve issues

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti today expressed grief over the death of five civilians near an encounter site in Shopian, saying that guns, either of a militant or of security forces, cannot resolve issues.

Asserting that political matters need political intervention, she said issues in Jammu and Kashmir can be resolved only through a sustained dialogue between all stakeholders.

“It sounds very depressing to note that our state is losing young lives to the unending cycle of violence, who could otherwise be utilised for a positive contribution to the state.

“Today’s deaths have brought a stark fact to the fore that gun, either way of a militant or that of security forces, is no solution for resolving issues,” Mufti said in a statement here.

The chief minister also appealed to all sections of civil society, media, students, parents and other stakeholders to rise to this critical occasion, play their role and help in putting an end to the “vicious cycle of killings and destruction”.

“I have reiterated it time and again that political issues need political interventions. I appeal the youth that their energies, youthfulness, dreams and aspirations are far more important and sacred to the society than their dead bodies or graves,” she said.

The chief minister said, “The three-decades-long violence in the state is a testimony to the fact that guns from either side cannot ensure peace, but a compassion driven reconciliation process based on mutual respect surely can.”

“In this regard, I appeal to the national leadership to show the element of compassion and empathy as required by the present day situation here and display the statesmanship to get J-K out of the quagmire of killings by engaging in a meaningful dialogue in the state. The sooner it happens, the more we can get our state out of the vicious cycle of killings and destruction,” she said.

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