Carnage In South Kashmir’s Kulgam

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Srinagar—Four civilians and one army man was killed and nearly a 100 civilians injured, at least two of them critically, in the Khudwani area of the Kulgam district in South Kashmir on Wednesday after a gun-battle broke out between militants and government forces.

No militant casualties were reported, and though the police claimed four civilians were “killed in crossfire,” it said only 21 persons had been injured “in the process.”   

The killings of civilians are reported to have taken place close to the site of the encounter where a large number of protestors had gathered to disrupt the operation and the forces responded with live ammunition and pellet guns.

Authorities had shut down internet services, including broadband, soon after the killings took place.

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The encounter had broken out in the Wani Mohalla area of Khudwani when forces launched a cordon and search operation at around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night following inputs about militant presence.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday, the police said that two militants had escaped from the site, one of them in an injured condition, and a search was on to trace them

The slain civilians have been identified as Sharjeel Sheikh (25) of Khudwani, Bilal Ahmad Tantray (16) of Havoora Mishpora, Faisal Illahi (14) of Melhoora Shopian and Aijaz Ahmad Palla (30) son of Mohammad Siraj of Batpora, Nagbal, presently from Tulkhan village in Bijbehara.

The police identified the slain army man as Sepoy S. Gunakar Roy (No. 16121860/K) who breathed his last at the army hospital where he was evacuated along with two other soldiers because of injuries sustained at the early stages of the encounter.

The medical superintendent at the SKIMS in Srinagar, Dr Farooq Jan said that the institute had received five injured persons, including the SHO for Baramulla.

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 “One among the injured youth is 25-year-old Adil Ahmad from Anantnag and is being operated upon in the hospital but he is not well,” the medical superintendent said.

 “The SHO for Baramulla, Khalid Ahmad, has a skull fracture due to a stone, but is stable. The remaining three are also stable,” he said.

A senior doctor at the SMHS Hospital said that at least eight injured persons had been brought there. “Among them, one namely 50-year-old Abdul Salam Dar son of Abdul Rahim Dar of Havoora has a serious firearm injury in his neck,” the doctor said.

 “His condition is not well and he is on a ventilator,” the doctor said.

The condition of the remaining is stable, he said.

A doctor from district hospital Anantnag said that a total of 10 injured were received and one was brought dead.

Among the 10 injured, eight have been referred to Srinagar hospitals with multiple eye, head, and face injuries.

Out of the two still admitted in the hospital, one has a minor head injury while the other has pellet wounds all over his body, the doctor said, adding that the condition of both was stable.

The doctor further said that 45 injured had been received by Primary Health Centre at Qaimoh, out of whom some were discharged, some shifted to other district hospitals in south Kashmir and a few referred to Srinagar hospitals for specialized treatment.

Presently six injured persons were admitted at the PHC Qaimoh.

The doctor said that five injured have been admitted at the PHC Frisal.

The doctor said that four injured persons were under treatment at the district hospital in Pulwama and as many at the district hospital in Kulgam. The Kulgam hospital had referred six injured persons to various hospitals in Srinagar. Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of the slain militants. 

Urgent Need To Get J&K Out Of Violence: CM 

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday expressed grief at the loss of lives near an encounter site in Kulgam district.

Four civilians were killed and nearly 100 injured as protesters clashed with government forces in Kulgam district of the state while an encounter was on with militants that left one soldier dead and two others wounded.

“There is an urgent need to get together to get Jammu and Kashmir out of this vicious cycle of violence and killings,” Mehbooba Mufti said.

She has also paid tributes to the Army jawan who lost his life during the encounter.

Mehbooba has conveyed her sympathies with the families of those killed, an official spokesman said.

NC: Time For PDP-BJP Govt To Introspect

Chief Minister and her conscious needs to answer her government’s “continued supervision of bloodshed and oppression in Kashmir,” opposition National Conference said on Wednesday.

In a statement issued here, National Conference President and MP Srinagar Dr. Farooq Abdullah expressed profound grief and sorrow over the civilian killings in Kulgam in south Kashmir.

Extending his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, Farooq said, “It’s time for PDP-BJP government and especially the chief minister to introspect and acknowledge the damage caused by their anti-people policies and actions throughout the state.”

Party’s working president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also expressed profound grief over civilian killings and expressed solidarity with the bereaved families.

Omar said it was for the Chief Minister and her conscious to answer for her government’s continued supervision of bloodshed and oppression in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Party General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar presided over a meeting of party leaders and legislators at Nawa e Subah and expressed dismay over the abject failure of the incumbent Chief Minister and head of the Unified Command in stopping the “mayhem” that has engulfed the whole state.

“It’s really unfortunate that civilians as young as 13 year olds are dying and that there was no accountability for such killings,” Sagar was quoted in the statement as having addressed the meeting called on unabated civilian killings in the Valley. He prayed to Almighty to give strength to the bereaved to bear the loss.

“Ever since PDP-BJP government assumed office, Jammu & Kashmir has suffered at every level. Whether it is Jammu, Srinagar or any other part of the state, mayhem and chaos continues to run amok. We all are witness to the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Deaths and maiming of the worst order have now become a routine,” he said.

Don’t Come Close To Encounter Site: Police 

Police on Wednesday urged people not to come close to the encounter site “as it is a considerable threat.”

“ We request general public not to come close to the encounter site as it is a considerable threat. The DMs have already issued restriction orders in this connection,” a police spokesman said in a statement issued here.

Referring to Kulgam encounter, he said: “It is to mention that the hiding militants taking advantage of the crowd assembled across the river Jelhum which was very close to the target house made indiscriminate firing. Though SFs tried to contain it, keeping the security of the general environment in mind the SFs acted with responsibilities.”

Consequently 4 persons identified as Sarjeel Sheikh of Khudwani, Bilal Ahmad Tantray of Frisal, Faisal Ilahi of Melhoora Shopian and Aijaz Ah Pala of Bijbehara who were injured and succumbed to their injuries later, he said.

“In the incident 21 persons were injured out of which three have been discharged. Separately SFs injured are getting treated in hospital besides one army jawan namely Sepoy S. Gunakar Roy No. 16121860/K of 01 RR attained martyrdom.”

Subsequently, the spokesman said, it is learnt that 2 militants escaped from the encounter site, one of whom is to be injured. “This injured militant is identified as Azad Dada of Arwani who is wanted in a number of serious cases involving killing of civilians,” he said, adding, “It is also learnt that Sarjeel Ahmed Sheikh s/o Abdul Gani r/o Khudwani was Involved in case FIR no 157/2017 U/S 302, 307,326,427 RPC 7/27 Arms Act of police station Anantnag and is an absconding accused of the court in the said case .Police is further looking into the matter.” He said efforts have been intensified to nab the escaped militants.  

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