Mir Zeeshan

Pulwama bleeds as 11 die in encounter & aftermath

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Killed include 7 civilians, 3 Hizb militants, soldier

An injured civilian being rushed to SMHS Hospital. Photo/Javed Khan

Pulwama, Dec 15: It was another bloody day in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district today which left eleven people including seven civilians, three militants and an armyman dead, besides scores of civilians injured.

Three militants were killed in an encounter with government forces Saturday morning at Sirnoo village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district while as seven civilian were killed in subsequent clashes with government forces near the encounter site. More than 30 civilians were also injured.

A police official said that government forces comprising troops of 55 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), 182 and 183 battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Special Operations Group of police laid siege around Sirnoo village at around 4:00 am.

He said that as the search parties approached towards a spot in village orchards between Sirnoo and Monghama, they established contact with militants who were hiding in a hideout there.

In the ensuing encounter three militants of Hizbul Mujahideen were killed including a top commander.

The slain militants were identified as Zahoor Ahmad Thoker of Sirnoo, son of Abdul Majid Thoker of Sirnoo; Adnan Hamid Bhat alias Tahir, resident of Karimabad village; and Bilal Ahmad Magray alias Hashim from Rajpora Pulwama. Thokar had deserted the Army last year to join militant ranks.

The police official also said that two army-men were also injured in the gunfight. One of them identified as Sepoy Kishan Singh of 55 RR, succumbed to his injuries later.

Seven civilians were killed and around 35 others wounded after government forces opened fire on protesters near the site of the gunfight. A police spokesman said that the civilians came “dangerously close” to the site of the gunfight.

Locals from Sirnoo village informed that as soon as sound of gunshots was heard at around 5:30 am, and residents came to know that Zahoor Thoker was among the militants trapped there, many people from the village and surrounding areas rushed towards the site of encounter and pelted stones on the government forces, who retaliated by firing live ammunition including bullets, pallets and tear-smoke shells which left scores of civilians injured.

Doctors at the District Hospital Pulwama informed that they received 19 injured youth. “Six were brought dead at the hospital,” they said, adding that 13 others were referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment.

The hospital authorities identified the slain civilians as Mohammad Amir Pala, 20, son of Mohammad Yousuf Pala, resident of Ashminder; Abid Hussain Lone, 28, son of late Ghulam Nabi Lone, resident of Karimabad; Owais Yousuf Najar, 18, son of Mohammad Yousuf Najar, resident of Monghama; Liyaqat Majeed Dar, 17, son of Abdul Majeed Dar, resident of Parigam; Suhail Rashid, 16, son of Abdul Rashid Dar, resident of Bellov, and Murtaza  Bashir, 14, son of Bashir Ahmad, resident of Prichoo.

One youth identified as Tawseef Ahmad Mir, 27, son of Mohammad Ahsan Mir, resident of Urichersoo village was declared dead at Srinagar’s SMHS Hospital after he was referred there from Pulwama hospital.

Crowd came dangerously close to gunfight site: Police

Srinagar, Dec 15: Terming the civilian deaths as unfortunate, the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday claimed that the “crowd came dangerously close” to the site of the gunfight that left three militants and a civilian died in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Giving details about the gunfight, a police spokesman said that a search operation was launched jointly by the government forces based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Monghama area of village Sirnoo today morning.

He said that the militants fired indiscriminately during the search operation from a hideout in an open field in the village.

“Consequently, army personnel got injured and one army soldier succumbed to his injury while others are being treated at a hospital,” said the spokesman.

“While the operation was going on, a crowd which came dangerously close from different parts to the encounter site got injured,” he added.

He said the injured were evacuated to hospital where “unfortunately seven persons succumbed to their injuries.”

Others who were admitted in the hospital are stated to be stable, he said.

“The loss of civilians is deeply grieved. Police once again appeals the citizens to remain away from encounter site as it is a prohibited zone which involves significant danger to life because of nature of the encounter,” said the spokesman.

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