Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Dec 15, 2018, 9:28 AM; last updated: Dec 16, 2018, 11:42 AM (IST)

11 killed in gunfight, subsequent clashes in Pulwama district of J&K

Three militants, soldier killed in pre-dawn gunbattle in south Kashmir’s Pulwama village
11 killed in gunfight, subsequent clashes in Pulwama district of J&K
Women mourn during the funeral of a civilian at Prichoo village in Pulwama district on Saturday. Reuters

Majid Jahangir
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, December 15

Seven civilians were killed and at least 36 injured in clashes that erupted after three militants, all locals, were shot dead in a gunfight at Pulwama’s Sirnoo village today. The killing of civilians triggered fresh tension in the Valley with major markets observing a shutdown.

Two soldiers were critically injured in the encounter. One of them, Kisan Singh, 29, a resident of Churu in Rajasthan, succumbed later, a defence official said.

The slain militants were identified as Army deserter Zahoor Ahmad Thokar, associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen, who had gone missing from his unit in north Kashmir’s Baramulla in July; Adnan Hamid Bhat of Karimabad; and Bilal Ahmed Magrey of Rajpora.

The Medical Superintendent of the Pulwama district hospital, Abdul Rashid Parra, said most of the civilians had died of bullet injuries in the head, neck and chest. One of them, Abid Hussain, 26, a resident of Karimabad, had returned from Indonesia after MBA. He is survived by his Indonesian wife and a three-month-old child.

The other casualties were Aaquib Ahmad Bhat (14) of Prichoo, Tauseef Ahmed Mir (29) of Uri Chursoo, Liyaqat Ahmed Dar (17) of Parigam, Aamir Ahmed Paul of Ashmandir, Suhail Ahmed of Bellow and Shabaz Ahmed of Monghama.

Munir Khan, Additional DGP (Law and Order), called the deaths “unfortunate”. He said during the pre-dawn operation against the militants, who were entrenched in an orchard, local youths thronged the site and began to hurl stones at the security personnel. “It was not a built-up area that we could have sanitised before launching the operation,” Khan explained. The injured, however, alleged excessive force. “The forces fired indiscriminately,” they claimed.

The Army PRO said: “Army condoles the loss of civilian lives during Sirnoo (Pulwama) encounter in which three terrorists were eliminated, one soldier got martyred and many other security personnel seriously injured”. Calling for an end to bloodshed, state Congress chief GA Mir said the Centre and J&K government had “miserably failed” to restore peace. CPM leader MY Tarigami, while expressing sorrow, said “for the BJP, Kashmir is expendable for narrow electoral interests”.

Separatists call for march tomorrow

Kashmir valley’s separatist leaders have given a call for a three-day strike and a protest march to the Army’s 15 Corps headquarters at Badami Bagh, Srinagar, on Monday, over the killing of civilians after the encounter in Pulwama on Saturday.

Divisional Commissioner to probe

Governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday directed the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, to hold an inquiry into the incident and suggest precautionary measures to minimise civilian casualties. He mourned the loss of civilian lives as he held a meeting to review the law and order situation. 

There is no explanation for this excessive use of force, none whatsoever. This is a massacre & that’s the only way to describe it. —Omar Abdullah, NC Vice-President

How long are we going to shoulder the coffins of our youngsters? So many civilians killed today. No country can win a war by killing its own people (sic) — Mehbooba Mufti, PDP Chief

If you end up killing 7 civilians in order to kill 3 militants, it is time for heads to roll. We can’t afford a state of impunity.—Sajad Lone, Ex-Minister


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