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2 militants among four killed in Fateh Kadal gunfight

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Fire-fighters trying to douse the fire at the encounter site. Pic/ Javed Khan

Srinagar, Oct 17: Two militants, including a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander, son of the owner of the house where encounter took place, and a policeman were killed during an encounter in Fateh Kadal area of downtown Srinagar on Wednesday morning.

Police said a cordon and search operation was laid by police and paramilitary CRPF personnel on a specific input regarding the presence of militants in Syed Ali Akbar area of Fateh Kadal, Srinagar.

"Cordon was laid in the early hours following specific intelligence input. Three militants, including Mehrauddin Bangroo, were killed in the encounter," Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Swayam Prakash Pani said.

He identified the other two militants as Faid Mushtaq Waza and “over ground worker” Rayees Ahmad, son of the house-owner where the encounter took place.

The IGP said Bangroo was involved in several killings in Srinagar and was the key coordinator for the Lashkar in the city.

Giving details of the operation, a police spokesman said during cordon and search operation, civilians were evacuated. While search operation was going on at (the) target location, militants opened indiscriminate fire from inside the house, said the spokesman.

In the ensuing gunfight, police constable Kamal Kishore was killed while two other policemen and a CRPF personnel also received injuries.

“During the encounter, the two militants and their active accomplice refused to come out of the house and in turn fired upon the search party. Consequently, they were killed in the encounter. The slain militants and the active accomplice have been identified as Mehraj-ud-Din Bangroo, Faid Mushtaq Waza and Rayees Ahmad,” police spokesman said.

He Mehraj-ud-Din Bangroo alias Asif Piya, son of Sona-ul-Lah Bangroo, resident of Narparistan Fateh Kadal, was involved in many militancy-related activities. “He was involved in case FIR No. 146/2002 U/S 7/25 I. A. Act P/S M.R. Gunj, FIR No. 32/2007 U/S 307 RPC 7/27 I.A. Act P/S M.R. Gunj, FIR No 27/2016 U/S 302 RPC, 7/27 IA Act of PS Zadibal related to killing of two police personnel at Bagh-e-Ali Mardan Khan near Zadibal, FIR No 69/2016 U/S 302, 392 RPC 7/27 IA Act. of P/S Batamaloo  pertaining to killing of one police personnel and snatching  of his weapon at Tengpora Batamaloo.”

Faid Mushtaq Waza, son of Mushtaq Ahmad Waza, resident of Akilmir Khanyar was also involved in several militancy-related incidents. “Many cases were registered against him including FIR No. 45/2016 U/S 148, 149, 336, 332, 427 RPC, FIR No. 28/2017 U/S 147, 148, 149, 336, 152, 353 RPC at Police Station Khanyar,” said the police spokesman.

He said “the complicity of Rayees Ahmad, who was part of the group in providing shelter and logistics to the militants, is being investigated.”

“Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Police has registered a case in this regard and investigation has been initiated,” spokesman said.

Meanwhile, a wreath-laying ceremony was held for the slain policeman Kamal Kishore at the District Police Line here before his mortal remains were sent to his native place.

Clashes also broke out in several parts of the old city after the encounter with groups of youth pelting stones at the government forces, who retaliated by firing dozens of teargas canisters.

Intense clashes broke out in Fateh Kadal and Khanyar localities as the news of killing of two local militants in a gunfight with the government forces in Fateh Kadal locality reached to their native places.

Witnesses said that youth took to streets and clashed with the forces in Kaw Mohalla area of Khanyar as the news of death of Waza reached there. There were clashes in several other localities of Srinagar.

The forces, witnesses said, retaliated by firing tear-gas and pellets.

In the wake of the encounter, authorities announced closure of schools and colleges in Srinagar while Kashmir University also suspended class-work. Internet service was also snapped while several area of downtown Srinagar were brought under strict curfew.

An official said the decision to close the educational institutions has been taken to avoid law and order situation in the district.

A Kashmir University spokesperson also said the decision to suspend class-work in the varsity has been taken as a precautionary measure to avoid law and order situation in the campus.

Meanwhile the dead-bodies of slain militants and the house-owner’s son were handed over to their families this evening around 4 pm.

Witnesses said thousands of people marched to Eidgah in a huge procession amid pro-freedom sloganeering with the bodies of Lashkar militants Mehraj ud Din Bangroo and Faid Mushtaq Waza and the house-owner’s son Rayees Ahmad where they were laid to rest in the martyrs’ graveyard. Women were also seen wailing and beating their chests as the bodies were marched towards the Eidgah.

Clashes in the vicinity were on till the reports last came in.

Forces thrash journalists near gunfight site

Srinagar, Oct 17: Several journalists were thrashed by the government forces near the site of the gunfight in Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar city on Wednesday, reports said.

They said that the journalists were performing their duties when the SOG and CRPF personnel thrashed them.

Reports said that at least 10 journalists were roughed up by the forces.

A journalist said that government forces even fired shots to scare them away from the gunfight site.

KEG

KEG condemns attack on journalists, demands action against guilty cops

Srinagar, Oct 17: Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) on Wednesday strongly condemned the manhandling of various reporters and videographers by policemen in Fateh Kadal locality of Srinagar where they had gone to fulfill a “professional obligation”.

Two militants, a civilian and a policeman were killed in the locality in a gunfight that broke out early today.

“The house in which the encounter took place was on fire and they (journalists) were covering the incident. At the time of the police's illegal attack on media, there was no gun-battle, no protest and the only activity was the firefighters were extinguishing the fire from spreading around,” KEG said in a statement.

KEG said that the police action on the ground suggests that “the counter-insurgency establishment wishes to frighten the media and stop this institution from covering anything which the grid dislikes and take over the entire systems and processes.

“We strongly feel that the attack on journalists that too when several senior officers from various security agencies where witnessing the ignominy, is aimed to send a strong signal to the media that any reportage contrary to the establishment point-of-view would be dealt with sternly,” KEG said.

It said today's incident is yet again a grim reminder of the fact how vulnerable the press core is in an area that is riddled with conflict and lawlessness.

“The crisis, however, is that the beating of journalists by police and paramilitary men is becoming a routine now and this state of affairs is an impediment in helping institutions deliver their professional duties. In today's incident, a senior police officer was watching as his subordinates were beating the journalists,” KEG statement said.

It said almost 20 journalists including photographers, videographers and the TV reporters were beaten. Some of them have received serious injuries and they are currently in the hospital.

“KEG while strongly condemning the incident calls for a strong action against those who were involved in the act,” the statement said.

Kashmir Press Club (KPC) has also condemned the thrashing of journalists by the government forces in Fateh Kadal area.

“Many reporters and photo journalists were beaten up while they were delivering their professional duties this morning. One of the injured journalists is also a member of the executive team of KPC,” said a spokesman of the KPC in a statement.

“It is also being reported that the thrashing took place right in front of senior police officers. The KPC has expressed shock over this behaviour by the forces. It hopes that the state administration will take a note of this and act,” said the statement.

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