Residents Rush To Save Trapped Militants, 2 Killed

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SRINAGAR: Two civilians were killed and scores others were injured when residents came out of their homes and clashed with armed forces who had laid seige of their village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday after a tip off that militants were present there.

Contingents of forces which included army soldiers, CRPF personnel, SOG and JKP cops had laid seige of the village Padgampora but met with resistance from local people, eyewitnesses and police sources said. Forces opened fire resulting in the on the spot death of one civilian youth. Another died while fleeing the police chase, they said.

Deceased were identified as Amir Nazir of Beegambagh Pulwama and Jalal-ud-Din, a resident of Tahab area of the district.

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This is despite the fact that army chief, Gen Bipin Rawat, has warned Kashmiri protestors against helping militants during gunfights. After Gen Rawat’s statement that those disrupting anti-militancy operations would be labelled as Over Ground Workes of militants, the J&K government shot advisory asking people no to venture in to the areas where armed forces are engaged in fire fights.

Today’s is the third incident in last two months when civilians fell to bullets during gun fight between armed forces and militants. Last time, a lady was killed when police said that she was hit by a “stray bullet” after an Indian army convoy came under attack by militants in Shopian district. Similarly, two civilians were killed in Kulgam during clashes between armed forces and civilian protestors when encounter was going on in Frisal village of the district.

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On Thursday, massive protests followed by clashes erupted in Padgampora while gun fight was simultaneously going on between forces and militants in the area. “The civilian protestors tried to march towards the encounter site to help save the trapped militants,” local sources said. “But government forces cordoned the village and did not let any person to move towards the site resulting in intense clashes with civilian population attacking the armed forces with stones.”

Amir, 16, was killed after forces opened fire to break the protests while as Jalal-ud-Din, according to hospital sources, died “because of cardiac arrest”.

“Jalal might have ran fast to save his life as a result he suffered cardiac arrest,” Medical Superintendent of District Hospital Pulwama, Dr Rashid Para, told the Kashmir Observer. “We examined the deceased’s whole body but there were no external injuries to it.”

The eye witnesses said that as the encounter raged, hundreds of civilian population came on streets raising pro-freedom and anti-Indian slogans. “The police and forces swung into action and tried to chase them away, however, they pelted stones on forces triggering clashes.”

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At least 20 persons sustained injuries in the clashes and they were referred to various hospitals and health centres including SMHS Hospital Srinagar for treatment.

“13 injured people were brought to SMHS hospital,” MS, Dr Nazir Choudhary said. “Out of 13, four have sustained bullet injuries.”

Director General of J&K police, Dr SP Vaid told the Kashmir Observer, “two militants of LeT were killed in Padgampora while as a teenager was hit by a ‘stray’ bullet and another civilian died due to ‘unknown reason’ as there was no external injuries on his body.”

Mehbooba Anguished

Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday expressed deep anguish and grief over the killing of a 15-year-old Amir Nazir in Padgampora village of Pulwama district today.

Extending her sympathies to the bereaved, the Chief Minister said “it was highly unfortunate that youth are caught in the vicious cycle of violence in the State which has consumed so many precious lives and left behind a trail of death and destruction.”

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