SRINAGAR, DEC 15 : Seven civilians, army soldier also got killed in an encounter in Kharpora Sirnoo village of Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.
At least three militants have also killed during the encounter with the forces. As per reports, more than 70 civilians have been injured, of which nine are said to be critical with serious bullet injuries.
The three militants killed in the encounter have been identified as Zahoor Thakar, who was a soldier in the Indian Army earlier and fled from a camp last year, Adnan Wani and Zahoor Ahmad Kar alias Tahir Hizbi.
Zahoor Thakar, who was earlier a soldier in the Indian Army, had fled from an Army camp with an AK-47 in 2017. Sirnoo is the native village of the slain militant.
As the encounter on Saturday morning, the militants were trapped in an open area. Two Army men also suffered injuries during the gunbattle.
The operation was conducted by joint team of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Indian Army and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.
The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Sirnoo village of south Kashmir on Saturday morning after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of militants in the area, an Army official said. The search operation turned into an encounter after the militants opened fire on the security personnel.
There were also reports of stone pelting in the area as the encounter took place. The forces had to open fire and resort to tear-gas shelling to disperse the protesters.
The civilians killed during the encounter have been identified as Amir Ahmad Paul, Shahid Ahmad Khanday, Abid Hussian Lone, Ishfaq Ahmad, Shahbaz Ali, Liyaqat Ahmad, Tawseef Ahmad Mir and Jahangir Ahmad.
Among the civilians who got killed were two youth, identified as Amir Ahmad and Abid Hussain. According to reports, they sustained bullet injuries in the clashes which erupted at the gunfight site between protesting civilians and the security forces. Though they were shifted to a hospital but were declared dead on arrival.
Meanwhile Spontaneous protests erupted at University of Kashmir against the civilian and militant killings.
Eyewitnesses said that hundreds of students of various department assembled at Allama Iqbal Library lawns and later marched through varsity campus chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
The students, they said, termed the civilian killings in Pulwama as “a massacre, a bloodbath”.
The students also held absentia prayers for the slain civilians and militants.
Meanwhile Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) called for a three-day shutdown and mourning in Kashmir against the killings of seven civilians and three militants in southern Pulwama district.
“From today onwards for three days mourning and complete protest strike will be observed all across,” said the Mirwaiz on Twitter.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Pulwama Massacre, Bullets and pellets rain!As Govt of India has decided to kill Kashmiri’s through its #Armed Forces who control us, JRL and people will march towards Badami Bagh Army cantonment on Monday 17 Dec to ask GOI to kill all of us at one time rather than killing us daily..
Earlier, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, while reacting to the killings sent an ‘SoS to the entire humanity’.
In another tweet Mirwaiz said: #Pulwama Massacre, Bullets and pellets rain! As Govt of India has decided to kill Kashmiri’s through its #Armed Forces who control us, JRL and people will march towards Badami Bagh Army cantonment on Monday 17 Dec to ask GOI to kill all of us at one time rather than killing us daily.
The authorities have suspended mobile internet in Pulwama and rail services between the Kashmir Valley and Banihal town in the Jammu region were cancelled.