The overnight encounter in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district left two local militants dead while an unarmed civilian was also killed when troopers allegedly fired some shots to curb the violent protesters soon after the gun fight raged in Redwani hamlet of the district. A police official said that militants fired on a joint party of Army 1 RR and CRPF who had cordoned off Redwani Bala village of Khudwani area at around 8pm on Sunday night, triggering an encounter.The militants two in number had taken refuge in a residential house owned by one Muzaffar Ahmed Dar. “After cordoning off the area, the operation was suspended for the night. It resumed in the morning and ended after the death of two militants,” SP Kulgam Mumtaz Ahmed told CNS.
Reports said that shortly after the encounter started in the area, scores of people engaged government forces in violent clashes. “The protesters resorted to intense stone-pelting both on Sunday night and on Monday morning. They unsuccessfully tried to help militants to escape from the village. We fired some tear-smoke shells to disperse them, in which a civilian was injured,” said a police official.The gun-fight lasted for 15 long hours and both the militants reportedly belonging to militant outfit Hizbul Mujhadeen lost their lives. Eyewitnesses told CNS that the residential house in which militants were present was razed to ground after government forces made use of some explosive device. “The explosive device went off with a bang, destroying the house completely and killing both the militants,” the locals said.
Police identified the slain militants as Javid Ahmed Bhat son of Muhammad Ramzan Bhat a resident of Redwani Bala and Idrees Ahmed Nengroo son of Ghulam Hasan of Badroo Yaripora Kulgam. “One AK rifle, one Self Loading Rifle (SLR) besides other arms and ammunition were recovered near the site of encounter. Two Army personnel were also injured in the gun battle who were immediately shifted and admitted to 92 base hospital Badamibagh Srinagar,” an Army spokesperson told CNS.
As the news of the death of the militants spread in the area, the locals took to streets and pelted stones at the forces who responded with tear gas shells, witnesses said. Earlier, a civilian Asif Ahmed Tantray was killed as violent protests erupted near the site of the gunfight. The forces responded with tear gas shelling after they were attacked by stone-pelters resulting in injuries to a civilian identified as Asif Ahmad of Redwani Bala. Witnesses, however, said that Asif was hit by a bullet and he succumbed to his injuries in district hospital.The killings of militants and a civilian evoked spontaneous shutdown in the district. All the educational institutions, business establishments and shops remained closed and transport was off the roads.Thousands of mourners amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans attended the funeral. The trio were laid to rest at local martyrs grave yard. (CNS)