One killed in clashes following encounter in J&K's Pulwama

Clashes broke out during protests over the killing of Hizb militant in encounter.

Srinagar: At least, one person was killed and two others were injured in police firing as clashes between irate crowds and security forces erupted in Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Pulwama district after the killing of a militant in an encounter on Wednesday.

Two more protesters were injured in teargas shelling whereas 17 policemen including a deputy superintendent also sustained injuries in stone pelting incidents, officials said.

A statement issued by the police here called those injured in police firing as “rioters” who, it said, were among large number of locals who came near the encounter site and pelted stones on security forces.

Reports said that the clashes broke out between surging crowds and security forces after a Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant , Shariq Ahmed Bhat, was killed in an encounter with troops in Pulwama’s Naina Batpora village earlier during the day. A private house in which the militant had been holed up was destroyed in the fire fight, reports added.

As the word about the militant’s killing spread, people in large numbers took to streets to chant pro-freedom and soon clashed with police.

A mob torched ‘Rakshak’ police vehicle and resorted to heavy stone pelting at local police and CRPF parties at various places in the area including at Bandina, the home village of the slain militant, as they came in the way of protesters. A police officer Dy. SP Nazir Ahmed Ganai was injured in a mob attack, officials said.

Witnesses said that the security forces fired dozens of teargas canisters and used batons to quell the violent mobs. They also opened fire, at least, at one place injuring three protesters-two of them seriously.

One of them identified as Pervez Ahmed Guroo succumbed to a bullet wound received in head in a local hospital later whereas two other seriously injured persons identified as Junaid Ahmed and Shabir Ahmed Bhat have been shifted to Srinagar for advanced treatment, reports said adding two more protesters were injured in teargas shelling.

While most areas in Pulwama are observing a spontaneous shutdown to mourn and protest the militant’s killing, the train services through the area have been suspended “as a precautionary measure”.

Police has denied runours that one more person was killed in police firing at Marhama in neighbouring Anantnag district.

Police statement said that during “uncontrolled rioting” security forces exercised maximum restraint even though 17 of their men were injured and a police vehicle was set ablaze. It confirmed three protesters sustained "firearm injuries" and that one of them died later.

Defence spokesman Lt. Col. N.N.Joshi said that the Hizb militant was gunned down by a joint team of Army, local police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) and CRFP during an encounter.

“Continuing its relentless operations against the terrorists, the security forces on Tuesday evening launched an operation in Naina village of Pulwama on receiving information about the presence of some terrorists,” he said adding that as the security forces closed in “they drew heavy volume of fire from the terrorists hiding in the village leading to a fierce gun battle which resulted in the elimination of one terrorist”.

One AK 47 rifle and some other ‘war-like stores’ were found on the 20-year-old slain militant, the spokesman added.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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