Over a dozen wounded in intense clashes
Srinagar, Jul 30: Two local Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in a brief gunfight in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Sunday, triggering day-long protests in the area.
Over one dozen civilians were injured in the protests after security forces resorted to aerial firing and tear gas shelling.
The gunfight erupted on Sunday morning after security forces cordoned off Tahab village in Pulwama. The militants tried to flee and fired at the security forces, triggering a brief gunfight in which two militant were killed.
“Encounter started at Tahab Pulwama. Two militants down,” Director General of Police, J&K, Dr. S P Vaid wrote on his twitter account.
As the security forces cordoned off the village and started the search operation, the militants resorted to indiscriminate firing to escape. “We retaliated with the fire and killed both the militants,” a senior police officer posted in Pulwama told KNS. He said an Army man received a minor injury in the gunfight.
The slain militants have been identified as Shariq Ahmad of Gulzarpur Awantipore and Showkat Ahmed alias Shabir of Mehand Anantnag. They had joined militant ranks this year.
Soon after the news of the killing of militants spread in the area, the shopkeepers downed their shutters and youth came out on roads to protests. People tried to reach to the encounter site and pelted stones on security forces which retaliated with aerial firing and tear smoke shelling. Over a dozen youth were injured one among them critically after a bullet hit him in the chest. He has been identified as Asif Ahmad of Lassipora Pulwama. He has been shifted to District Hospital Pulwama.
The district administration has suspended the internet services in entire Pulwama district to prevent the spreading of rumors and mobilization of crowds towards the encounter site.
Thousands of people attended the funeral of the slain Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant Shariq Ahmad at his ancestral Takuna village of Pulwama in south Kashmir on Sunday.
Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo also appeared in the funeral of Shariq. During his address, he said that efforts are being made to defame the Kashmir freedom struggle. Naikoo asked people not to support those “who oppose Pakistani flag”.
Without naming Zakir Musa who was recently named the head of Al-Qaeda wing in Kashmir, Naikoo said all the people holding the flag of Islam “are not necessarily our own”. “Pakistan flag is our flag. Linking our struggle with Al Qaeda and ISIS is a ploy to defame it,” he said. (KNS)