Villagers bid to help militants break free foiled

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2 Militants Die Fighting; Forces Open Fire On Civilians, 1 Killed 

KULGAM/ ANANTNAG: The overnight encounter in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district took a dramatic turn Monday morning when a large group of protesters made an attempt to reach the encounter site to help trapped militants break free. To prevent protesters from reaching near the encounter site, Govt forces opened fire resulting in the death of one protester.

According to the police sources a joint party of Army’s 1 RR, CRPF and police SOG cordoned off Redwani Bala village of Khudwani area (Kulgam) at around 8pm Sunday night. 

The militants, two in number, had taken refuge in a residential house owned by one Muzaffar Ahmed Dar when contingents of Govt forces arrived there. “After cordoning off the area, the forces zeroed in on the house and directed the militants present there to surrender. The militants, identified as two local youth Javid Ahmed Bhat of Redwani Bala and Idrees Ahmed Nengroo of Badroo Yaripora, opened fire sparking a fierce encounter.

As the night advanced, Govt forces suspended the operation till morning. However residents made repeated attempts to help militants break free by engaging forces deployed on cordon by hurling rocks at them during night hours”, eyewitnesses said.

Reports said that shortly after the encounter resumed Monday morning, a large number of villagers, mostly youth from Redwani and adjoining hamlets tried to come closer to the house in which two militants were trapped. 

Corroborating the claims made by the eyewitnesses a police official said that the protesters tried to pave way for the holed up militants to escape from the village, but could not do so as government forces burst tear-smoke shells and resorted to aerial firing to disperse them.

“CRPF men and SOG personnel resorted to intense tear-gas shelling and fired scores of shots in air to disperse the angry protesters who were inching towards the house where militants were holed up. A civilian was hit by a bullet that ultimately claimed his life,” the eyewitnesses said. The deceased  civilian was identified as Muhammad Asif Tantray (25), a resident of Redwani Bala.

Refuting the claims of the locals, SP Kulgam Mumtaz Ahmed said that the civilian was killed after militants fired upon forces. “One of the bullets fired by militants hit Asif. He was shifted to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” SP claimed.

After 15 hour long siege joint team of forces managed to kill the two youth, Monday afternoon. The house where from they were fighting troops was razed to ground, eyewitnesses said.

“They used some explosive device which went off with a bang, destroying the house completely and killing both the militants,” the locals said.

When the Govt forces were leaving the area, reports said, angry protesters chased them from Redwani Bala to Khudwani Army camp. “As the encounter was over, mob again chased the government forces with stones. “The three kilometer distance from encounter site at Redwani to Army camp at Khudwani proved nightmare for the troopers. Undeterred hundreds of protesters raising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans were seen chasing armoured vehicles”, they said. 

The two slain militants belonging to militant outfit Hizbul Mujhideen were identified 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 said.

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 of the three slain youth. They were laid to rest at local martyrs grave yard. 

Javid and Idrees were HM militants

Srinagar: Stating that both the militants killed in Kulgam were locals and were affiliated with Hizbul Mujhideen, the operational spokesperson Burhanuddin Monday said that the resistance shown by common people during gun fight with Indian troops made it amply clear that people of Kashmir vehemently support militants and the ongoing freedom movement. 

Hizb spokesman old CNS over phone that both the militants were part of Hizb who gave a tough time to the countless Indian soldiers. “Javid Ahmed Bhat and Idrees Ahmed were two bold militants of Hizb who made our heads high with pride. We also salute the civilian killed by Indian troopers during the encounter. 

Geelani calls for strike in Kulgam  

Srinagar: Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani called for complete shutdown Tuesday in Kulgam district where a civilian and two militants were killed on Monday.   

“Our beloved youths are consciously adopting the path of brave hearts against the forced and illegal ‘military occupation’ of India and they are sacrificing their youth for the better future of their nation. But the forces of India are also killing our innocent and unarmed students who have no arms in their hands merely for taking part in the peaceful protest demonstrations”, a spokesman of the amalgam quoting Geelani said in a statement.

He said that the ‘innocent youth was brutally’ killed by the forces. “It is the worst kind of state terrorism and it has no justifications.”

Geelani said that the huge participation of the people in the funeral processions of the slain militants is ‘frustrating’ to forces and “on these occasions they in the revenge kill any of the civilian out of this frustration.”

“Similar situation happened in Kulgam that soon after the militants were trapped in the gun battle, the people showed extreme love and affection for them and displayed their enthusiasm in owning these militants which frustrated and irritated the Indian forces and they martyred a civilian in the revenge.”

Geelani said that due to the rigidity and stubbornness of India, the loss of precious human lives continue in Jammu & Kashmir and “our children prefer to pickup guns instead of pen and books.”

While advising the Indian leadership to accept the ground realities, Geelani said that participation of thousands of people in the funeral of the youth termed as terrorists by New Delhi should serve as an eye opener. 

“Our new generation is seriously committed with regarding to the freedom movement and they will never compromise on this issue.” 

Four sisters lose their only brother

Kulgam: Asif Ahmed Tantray who lost his life during violent clashes between protesters and government forces in Redwani area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district was the only brother of four sisters.

‘The family and these four sisters were totally depended on Asif who used to work at a private cellular outlet. The family is finished now. Three among four sisters are unmarried, father is too feeble to carryout farming,” said a wailing relative of the slain youth to CNS.

The father and the friends of slain youth said that Asif was not a part of the protest. “He was standing alone at a solitary place when bullet hit him. Asif had come out to look for his mother who had gone to fetch milk.  The Government Forces in a bid to disperse the protesters who were trying to enter into the house where two local militants were trapped were showering bullets on protesters and one of the bullets hit Asif. He was evacuated to a hospital in the district where he breathed his last,” they said refuting the charges that Asif was killed in militants firing. “Neither he was killed by militants nor did he die due to tear-smoke shelling. He was shot dead by government forces when protesters pelted stones on them,” Sanaullah Tantray, the father of the slain youth said. (CNS)

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