3 cornered militants escape; four civilians killed in cross fire: JK police

12 April, 2018, 00:42 | Author: Larry Hoffman
  • Three youths killed, several injured in clashes in south Kashmir

A police official said the gunfight broke out in Wani Mohalla area of Khudwani, Kulgam, 65 kms from here, at 11 pm on Tuesday after security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation.

As the fighting raged, people poured out of their homes and pelted stones at the security forces even as two-to-three militants from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) reportedly remained holed up inside the house.

While police and army officials maintain that the search operation was in progress, sources said the security forces withdrew following the clashes.

Reports claim the civilian killings were caused after the local populace hindered in the operation of security forces.

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The slain jawan has been identified by the Army as Sada Gunakara Rao, who was also reported dead after being brought to the medical facility in Kulgam.

"Four civilians died in the law and order situation that erupted in Khudwani area of Kulgam district when security forces were engaged in a counter-terrorism operation", the official said. Four of them, identified as 16-year-old Bilal Ahmad Tantray, 28-year-old Sharjeel Ahmad Sheikh, 14-year-old Faisal Illahi and 30-year-old Aijaz Ahmad Palla, succumbed to injuries on way to or in hospitals.

The news of civilian killings triggered protests in Srinagar and other places.

Reports from Kulgam said that the security forces also used batons and fired teargas canisters and pellet shotguns to quell the protests during and immediately after the encounter, injuring almost 50 people.

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Protests were also held at National Institute of Engineering in Srinagar.

Schools, colleges and businesses in the Kashmir valley closed in answer to a strike call from separatists in protest at the killings.

"All of us are sitting in one room of our house and continue to hear gunshots", a local from Kulgam, who lives near the encounter site, told ET over phone.

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