Thousands Participate In Funeral Of Slain; Internet Snapped, Train Service Suspended
SRINAGAR Five Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants, one of them a top commander, were killed in an encounter with government forces on Saturday in Kulgam district of south Kashmir, police said.
A civilian was killed and 20 others injured in clashes near the encounter site with the security forces, an official and reports said.
Reports said the 24-year-old youth was killed and at least twenty other persons suffered injuries in government forces action during clashes near encounter site.
The youth took to streets soon after the news about the gunfight between government forces and militants at Chowgam, Qazigund spread.
The government forces fired tear smoke shells, pellets, and live ammunition to disperse the protests near the site of a gunfight that left five militants dead.
In forces action, at least 20 protesters suffered injuries due to pellets, tear smoke shells and bullets.
Among the injured, a youth identified as Rouf Ahmad Ganaie, son of Saleem Ganaie of Al Farooq Colony Anchidora was critically injured after being hit by a bullet near the gunfight site.
He was rushed to a hospital in Srinagar. However, he died on the way. Rouf sustained a bullet wound in his neck.
The body of the deceased has been later handed over to the family for last rites. Thousands of people participated in his funeral. Rouf was later buried amid pro-freedom and anti-government slogans.
Earlier, Security forces had launched a search operation late on Friday night in Chowgam area of Qazigund in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district based on inputs about the presence of militants in the area, a police spokesman said. He said during the search operation, militants fired on the search party.
“First, the civilians were moved away from the site of encounter to safer locations. Security forces then engaged the militants,” the spokesman said. He said in the ensuing gunfight, five militants were killed.
“This was a group of militants belonging to proscribed outfits HM and LeT,” the spokesman said.
He said the killed militants were identified as Gulzar Ahmad Paddar alias Saif, a resident of Adijan, Kulgam, Faisal Ahmad Rather alias Dawood (Yamrach, Kulgam), Zahid Ahmad Mir alias Hashim (Okey, Kulgam), Masroor Molvi alias Abu Darda (Fatehpora, Anantnag); and Zahoor Ahmad Lone alias Rehman Bhai (Kulgam).
The spokesman said Paddar was a close associate of Altaf Kachroo, a top HM commander who was killed in an encounter in Anantnag last month.
“Paddar was involved in a series of attacks including the killings of five police personnel at Pambay last year (on May 1) along with two bank employees,” the spokesman said, referring to the attack on a cash van.
Militants had then pulled five police personnel and two bank employees out of the van and shot them at point blank range, the spokesman said.
He said Paddar was also involved in the killing of a special police officer at Krewan Chidder in Kulgam.
“Besides, he was involved in looting police guards at Damhaal and weapon snatching cases reported across Kulgam and many other bank robbery cases attempted in the area,” the spokesman said.
Mir was wanted for his involvement in the killing of policeman Fayaz Ahmad of Zainapora on Eid last month, he said, adding Rather was involved in the killing of policeman Gowhar Ahmad in Shopian last year.
“Lone and Molvi were involved in a series of offences besides recruitment bid in the locality,” the spokesman said.
Arms and ammunition were also seized from the site of encounter, the spokesman said.
All but Gulzar Ahmad Padroo were laid to rest at the native villages with thousands of people participating in their funerals.
Meanwhile, a spontaneous shutdown was observed in twin districts of Anantnag and Kulgam against the killings.
All shops and other commercial establishments remained closed in the area while traffic was mostly off the roads.
In wake of the gunfight, authorities have snapped internet services in parts of Kulgam and Anantnag while as train services were suspended between Baramulla and Banihal.