South Kashmir witnesses curfew, clashes, internet clampdown
KD NEWS SERVICE
SRINAGAR, May 16: Six militants, two soldiers and a civilian were killed and four persons including two army men were injured in to different encounters with militants in Pulwama and Shopian districts in south Kashmir on Thursday.
According to a local news gathering agency, a police officer said that in the initial phase of encounter three soldiers and two brothers Mohammad Younis Dar and Rayees Ahmad Dar sons of Jalal-Ud-Din Dar sustained injuries in an encounter in Dalipora area of Pulwama district.
While Rayees died on the spot, his brother Younis was immediately taken to nearby hospital where from he was referred to Srinagar hospital for specialized treatment, the officer said.
The officer said that the soldiers were airlifted to army’s 92 base hospital Badamibagh Srinagar where one of them namely Sandeep Kumar succumbed to injuries. He identified the injured soldiers as Sepoy Arunesh and Sepoy Ravindar.
During the course of gunfight all the three militants were killed and their bodies along with as many weapons and other arms and ammunition were recovered from the site, he said.
The officer identified the slain militants as Naseer Pandith of Karmibad Pulwama, Umar Mir of Bethipora Shopian and Khalid Bhai from Pakistan. The slain trio was affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammad militant outfit.
The officer said that Khalid was active since last several years in Kashmir and termed his killing as a major success.
Khalid, the top commander of the JeM outfit was wanted in the 2017 fidayeen attack on a CRPF camp in Lethpora that left five paramilitary personnel dead. He said that Khalid was mastermind of the attack.
The officer said that the encounter started after militants believed to be three in number, fired upon a joint team of police and army while a cordon-and-search operation was going on in the Dalipora village. The cordon was launched after credible inputs about the presence of the militants.
The authorities have also imposed curfew in the town following clashes while as the internet services have also been suspended in Pulwama and Shopian districts.
Meanwhile, after conducting all legal formalities the bodies of the slain militants and the civilian were handed over to legal heirs for last rites. Thousands of people attended the funeral prayers of the slain militants at their native villages and were later buried amid pro-freedom slogans.
The slain civilian Rayees Ahmad Dar (25) had completed his MBA in 2016 through Islamic University and was presently pursuing a course in Islamic Banking through IGNOU. Dar was later buried in his ancestral graveyard at Pakherpora. Before his burial, thousands of people held a separate funeral for Rayees at Pakherpora. Earlier thousands of people attended Rayees’s funeral at Dalipora where his family had shifted some 15-years back.
On the other hand, the family and neighbours of one of the three persons killed in Shopian and claimed to be militants by police on Thursday contested the claim, asserting that their kin was not a militant but a civilian. Also, one soldier injured in the gunfight in southern district succumbed to injuries, taking the death toll in the gunfight to four.
A police spokesman in a statement had said that based on ‘a credible input”, a cordon and search operation was launched by police and government forces at Handew area in District Shopian.
“During the search operation, the hiding (militants) fired on the search party. In the initial exchange of fire, one army soldier identified as Sepoy Rohit also sustained injuries. He has been hospitalized and is undergoing treatment. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter,” the spokesman said.
In the ensuing encounter, the spokesman said, “03 (militants) were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter.” The identities and affiliations of the slain are being ascertained, the spokesman had said.
Sources said that Sepoy Rohit Kumar Yadav succumbed to injuries at Badamibagh Army hospital where he was admitted after being airlifted from the Shopian.
A police officer identified the slain as Shakeel Ahmad Dar alias Abu Wasif son of Abdul Gani Dar of Tukroo, Shopian, Shakir Ahmad Paul alias Owais Amin Baie son of Abdul Ganie Paul of Molu Dangerpora and Yawar Mushtaq alias Khalid Bhai son of Mushtaq Ahmad Dar of Bandpoh Thokerpora Shopian. The slain trio was affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, the officer had said.
However, when the respective families went to PCR to collect the bodies, it surfaced that one among them was not Shakir Ahmad Paul but Ishtiyaq Ahmad Bhat son of Dawood Ahmad Bhat of Hendew Imamsahab Shopian. The family and relatives of Ishtiyaq Ahmad said that he was an innocent person.
A police officer said that the encounter took place in an open space and questioned as to what Ishtiyaq was doing there. “There was already a case (FIR 252/2018) under 13, 39 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and 506 RPC and 7/27 Arms Act registered against him,” the police officer said, adding, “Further investigations are underway.” Meanwhile, authorities have decided to suspend train service from Banihal to Baramulla on Friday. (GNS)