Srinagar: Two militants and a local teenager were killed and two girls critically injured during a gun fight raging in a remote village of Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Shopian district since Wednesday afternoon.
The officials said that fighting broke out in Shopian’s Chaigund village after the security forces laid siege to it on learning about the presence of militants. “The militants holed up in a private house opened fire at the joint search party triggering encounter,” said a police spokesman in Srinagar.
J&K’s Director General of Police, Shesh Paul Vaid announced the killing of two militants and the teenage boy on social media. He wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.com, “In an encounter today at Saigund (Chaigund) Shopian, two terrorists have been neutralised and weapons have been recovered. Unfortunately, one boy was also killed in the crossfire and two ladies sustained injuries. Search is still going on”.
While the encounter was underway, local youth took to the streets to chant pro-freedom slogans apparently to encourage the holed up militants. They also allegedly hurled stones at the security forces, prompting the latter to use force to disperse them.
The police said that the civilian casualties occurred during crossfire between the militants and the security forces. But the locals have alleged that the security forces fired live ammunition into protesting crowds “merely because of their chanting slogans”. The slain youth has been identified as 17-year-old Shakir Ahmed Mir.
Separatist leader and Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in a tweet alleged that the security forces fired indiscriminately on protesters.
“Blood of #Kashmir’s youth being spilled mercilessly and with impunity! 17 year old Shakir Ahmed #ShotDead as Indian troops fire indiscriminately on protestors at Chaigund Shopian, 2 girls with bullet injuries on their head shifted to a Srinagar hospital in critical condition!”
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, also tweeted, “Distressed to hear of two girls critically injured & a young boy who lost his life in clashes at Shopian. I pray for this dreadful cycle of violence to end soon”.
The slain militants have been identified as Sameer Ahmad Wani and Firdous Ahmad, both local Kashmiris from Shopian’s Odoo and Ganawpora villages.
The doctors at a health facility in Shopian’s Rajpora town said that the teenager Mir was brought there with a bullet injury but was declared dead on arrival. Two girls identified as Sami Jan and Sabreena have been brought to Srinagar for specialized treatment, the police sources said.
The killing of two militants and the civilian sparked off widespread protests in several areas of Shopian. The police and central paramilitaries have fired teargas canisters and pellet shotguns to break up protests at a few places, reports received here said.
J&K Assembly, now in its budget session in Jammu, witnessed noisy scenes as the opposition members protested over the killing of the youth and injuries to two girls in Shopian village.
National Conference’s Shamima Firdous while raising the issue in the House demanded an answer from the government over civilian killings and what she alleged are growing human rights violations in Kashmir Valley. She was joined by her party members and some other opposition members in lodging protest.