Mujgund Residents Say State Forces Committed ‘Excesses’ During Gunfight


SRINAGAR — The city residents whose houses were destroyed in a recent gun battle at Mu­jgund area of Srinagar ac­cused the government forces of “ using excessive” force and “heavy ammunition during the operation.”

Three militants of the Lash­kar-e-Toiba (LeT), including two minors and a Pakistani national, were killed in the outskirts of Srinagar on Sun­day. The killings prompted massive clashes and a shut­down later. The 18-hour gun­fight began in Mujgund area, located on the Srinagar-Band­ipora highway, at around 5 pm on Saturday evening and end­ed on 11:30 on Sunday morn­ing. Seven houses were also razed during the gunfight.

Residents said that no militants were present in the Fisheries Colony where the seven houses were destroyed.

A resident, Javaid Ahmed, owner of one of the houses which was damaged, said, “ The force personnel barged into our homes 15 minutes before the encounter began and told us to leave the house. After checking the house, they left only to return a few minutes later. This time, they forcefully removed us and all of our family members ran in different directions. We all assembled at out uncle’s resi­dence and stayed the night there. This morning, when we returned home, everything we owned was gone.”

Ghulam Mohammad Lami stood in the midst of the de­bris of his home. He said, “We didn’t see any militants. Once the cordon was laid, we ran from our homes only to re­turn to this destruction. My savings, gold, copperware, everything turned into ashes. I don’t know what to do.”

Senior police and CRPF officials however denied charges of using excessive force. A senior police officer said the three militants including two Kashmiri militants were killed in the first few hours of the gunfight but the Pakistani militant continued to engage the forces till Sunday morning.

“We’d received a tip-off about their presence in Sri­nagar a couple of days ago. Once they were cordoned, the militants split up and ran in three different directions. The two locals were killed, but the Pakistani militant evaded us for the night. He kept on mov­ing from one house to another and that is why the forces had to use mortar shells to counter him. He was finally killed in the morning,” the officer said.

Locals of the area, however, accused the forces of “target­ing” the houses. “The forces used rockets, LMG and mortar shells during the encounter, which resulted in loud bangs through the night,” they said

The force personnel said that throughout the encoun­ter and especially after the loud bangs made by the am­munition, youth of the area gathered around the encoun­ter site and started to hurl stones. The stone-pelting con­tinued through Sunday noon.

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