SRINAGAR: Bullets hit a brother-sister duo during an encounter between government forces and militants in a Kupwara village on Wednesday resulting in the on the spot death of seven-year-old Kaneeza and grievous injuries to her minor brother Faisal. Police said both Kaneeza (7) and Faisal (6) children of Khushi Muhammad Chichi were hit by the stray bullets.
Three militants also died during the encounter while a policeman was reportedly injured.
The gun battle erupted Wednesday morning, night after army accompanied by Special Operations Group (SOG) of police and CRPF cordoned off Hyhama village in frontier Kupwara district following reports that a group of militants was present there.
As the gunbattle raged with bullets flying all over brother-sister duo were hit at their home some 100 metres away from the encounter site. According to IG Kashmir Javed Gilani siblings were in front of their house when they were hit.
Siblings were shifted to hospital where the girl was pronounced dead on arrival. The boy was referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment. SSP Kupwara Shmsher Hussain told Kashmir Observer Wednesday evening that the condition of boy was stable.
The killing of civilians during the encounters have risen over recent months.
On December 08 last year, Arif Ahmad Shah of Anantnag district was killed after he was hit by a bullet in the back of his neck. Police said he was hit by a stray bullet during the exchange of fire between them and the militants.
On February 23, a women namely Taja begum wife of Ghulam Mohammed Mir of Shopian district was killed after she, according to police, was hit by a stray bullet inside her house during the gunfight.
On March 09, another youth Amir Nazir of Beegambagh Pulwama was killed after he, according to police statement, was hit by a stray bullet causing his on the sport death.
Todays is the fourth incident of its kind when a civilian fell to stray bullets during gun fight between armed forces and militants.
SSP Kupwara Shemsheer Hussain said, Police had evacuated the houses in the area but the family members of the deceased girl refused to move out and during the gunbattle girl was hit by a stray bullet, he said.
When Kashmir Observer asked IGP Javed Gilani if the number of civilians dying due to stray bullets have increased in recent past, said, It is happening from past many years that civilians are killed accidentally, adding, people have to take precautionary measures to avoid any damage. We had evacuated all the residents in Kupwara village but they refused to come out, which is their own fault, IGP said.
Three militants killed: Police
Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir Police along with 41 RR, and 98 CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in Hyhama in the jurisdiction of Police Station Kupwara following specific intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in the area, a police official said.
He said as the forces were conducting the operation when the hiding militants fired upon them, triggering an encounter in which three militants were killed.
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