Two Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, including a Pakistani national, were today killed in an encounter while a civilian died and over 120 others sustained injuries during clashes with security forces near the scene of gunbattle in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.
A police spokesman said a joint patrol of the security forces launched searches in the Kundallan area of the district in the early hours today following credible leads about the presence of militants there.
As the searches were going on, militants hiding inside the house fired upon the search party, who in their guarded response fired back, leading to an encounter, he said.
The spokesman said some civilians in the nearby houses were quickly evacuated by the security forces.
“During the encounter, all the hiding militants were eliminated successfully by the joint patrol of the security forces. The slain militants were identified as Sameer Ahmad Sheikh, a local, and Babar from Pakistan,” he said, adding that the ultras were affiliated with proscribed militant outfit JeM.
The father of one of the rebels died of shock after hearing that his son was trapped in the hideout.
Sheikh was a school dropout and had joined the JeM after he was reported missing from his home since April 2018, the spokesman said.
“On the basis of documents available, the other militant has been identified as Babar, a JeM commander of Pakistani origin. They were involved in many attacks on the security establishments and civilian atrocities,” he said.
The spokesman said some civilians were also injured in cross firing at the encounter site, who were later evacuated to a hospital for medical attention.
“One of the injured persons later succumbed to injuries while the other injured are stated to be stable now,” he said.
When the operation was in progress, a police official said, a large number of civilians rushed towards the encounter site and started pelting stones at security forces.
At least 20 civilians were injured in the security forces action to chase away the protestors, he said, adding eight among them have been referred to hospitals here for specialised treatment.
Local reports however claimed that 123 civilians where injured as stone-throwing protesters clashed with forces near the gunfight site who responded with tear smoke shelling, pellet firing and use of live ammo as the clashes intensified.
Quoting health officials, Greater Kashmir reported that at least 123 civilians were admitted in local hospitals after the clashes, some with pellet and firearm injuries.
“Six among them had bullet injuries while 17 others had pellet injuries in their eyes,” said a top health official at a local hospital in Shopian.
One of the injured, identified as Tamsheel Ahmad Khan of Vehil Shopian, succumbed at SMHS hospital.
Four others were refereed to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital for advanced treatment.
Two soldiers, including a Junior Commissioned Officer, injured in the initial gunfight were shifted to the Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar.
Muhammad Ishaq Naikoo, the father of Zeenat, who had just joined the militant ranks, was declared dead on arrival at a hospital. Naikoo suffered cardiac arrest.
Separatist leaders have called for a complete shutdown tomorrow to protest the civilian killing.