6 civilians killed, dozens injured in blast; clashes near gunfight site

ESS AHMAD. Dated: 10/22/2018 2:51:29 PM

3 militants dead, 2 army men wounded in Kulgam encounter

ANANTNAG, Oct 21: Six civilians were killed and over two dozen injured post the gunfight that erupted in Laroo village of Kulgam district and ended with the killing of three militants and causing injuries to two army men.
The killings and injuries took place in the blast near the encounter site and in action by security personnel during the clashes that broke out in the area during and post gunfight.
The gunfight erupted in the area after the forces cordoned off Laroo village adjacent to Kulgam town following specific intelligence input about the presence of militants there.
Officials said the forces while conducting searches in the village came in contact with the militants who were hiding in a residential house. The hiding militants opened fire on the search party which was retaliated triggering a gunfight. In the initial exchange of fire, officials said, two army men suffered injuries. The forces later blasted the house using mortars and other explosives killing all the three militants.
The slain militants were identified as Shahid-ul-Islam Tantray of Wangam Shopian, Yazil Makroo of Arwani Bijbehara and Zubair Ahmad Lone of Ahwatoo Kulgam. All the three slain, an official said, belonged to Jaish-i-Mohammad.
As soon as the operation was over and forces were withdrawing from the area, people in huge numbers who had already assembled to disrupt the operation thronged the encounter site. Officials and locals said that as the people started assembling near encounter site some explosive material went off resulting in the killing of three persons on spot and injuries to several others.
A doctor at DH Kulgam said that at least three persons with multiple injuries were brought dead to the hospital initially where as nine others with fire arm and pellet injuries were taken later.
"Two of them with critical injuries were referred to Srinagar hospitals for advanced treatment while others were treated locally," the doctor said.
Eleven others with pellet and firearm injuries were taken to district hospital Anantnag where from eight of them were referred to Srinagar hospitals.
Though three of the civilians were killed on spot, three others succumbed at SMHS and SKIMS later.
The slain civilians were identified as Ubaid Ahmad Laway, Uzair Ahmad Mansoor Ahmad, Talib Maqbool, Tajamul Ahmad, Irshad Ahmad and Aquib Ahmad Shiekh.
Local sources said that after the news about the killing of three youth in the blast near the encounter site spread, clashes intensified in the area as more and more youth poured on to the streets and clashed with forces.
The forces used tear-smoke shells and pellets to disperse the youth. A doctor at DH Anantnag said out of the eleven injured brought to the hospital six had suffered pellet injuries while five others had fire arm injuries.
Chaotic scenes were witnessed at DH Anantnag as scores of youth poured in to the hospital premises to help the injured and donate blood to save the lives.
Though the locals said that most of the youth were injured during the clashes that intensified after the blast, officials said that the blast resulted in all the killings.
"Some youth might have received pellet injuries during the clashes but we did not fire bullets while dealing with stone throwing youth. The blast near the encounter site resulted in most of the injuries and all the killings are the result of the blast. Nobody died during clashes," a police official said.
Witnesses said that the killing of militants and civilians created a state of mourning in the entire area.
"There were wails and cries all around as the locals kept burying the dead," a local photojournalist who covered funerals of slain said.
Thousands of people, witnesses said, joined the funeral prayers of the slain civilians and militants in their native villages. The slain were laid to rest amid sobs and tears. Witnesses said that militants also appeared in the funeral gathering of one of their fallen colleague and offered gun salute.

 

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