A day after the gunbattle between the police and militants ended, clashes continued in uptown Srinagar on Friday.
Two militants, a policeman and a civilian were killed in the 22-hour-long encounter at Lal Chowk in the heart of the city.
In another encounter, two militants were killed near Pampore town in south Kashmir.
Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas of Maisuma, Koker Bazaar and Residency Road remained closed for the third day with shops and other business establishments shut. Youth clashed with the police at several places. The police used tear smoke shells to disperse them. They were protesting against alleged atrocities by the CRPF during last two days.
The police said some youth gathered to see the Punjab Hotel that caught fire on Thursday during the fierce gunbattle. The militants were holed up in that hotel. “We asked them to go away but they threw stones,” said a police officer.
In Sopore also, people clashed with the police after protesting against the killing of a militant in the Lal Chowk encounter. He belonged to the same area.
In Pampore, security forces killed two top militants of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. A police spokesman said that on a tip-off about the presence of two wanted militants, a cordon was laid by a joint party of the Srinagar Police and the Awantipora Police in coordination with the Army at Andrus Village of Khrew area near Pampore. “The entrapped militants fired upon the police party which was retaliated, resulting in the elimination of both the militants,” he said.
The slain militants were identified as Altaf Ahmad Mir of Awantipora and Zahoor Ahmad Mir of Armulla, Pulwama. Both the militants were part of the breakaway group of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit which had joined the Lashkar in mid-2009 and had been instrumental in strengthening the outfit. They had developed a strong base in Srinagar and south Kashmir.
“It may be noted that the duo was wanted by the police for being involved in a number of terrorist acts. By killing the duo, the police has solved the Central jail car blast case and the Pampore shootout case,” he said.
Journalists took out a procession in protest against alleged police firing on photo journalist Aman Farooq. They marched through Lal Chowk and Residency Road and demanded stern action against the police officer involved. Inspector-General of Police Kashmir Range Farooq Ahmad has already ordered an inquiry into the incident.