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13 militants killed in multiple operations in south Kashmir

Up in smoke: Fire engulfs the house blasted by security forces to eliminate a militant at Kachidoora in Shopian district on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

Twenty persons, including 13 militants and three Army personnel, were killed as security forces launched “coordinated,” multiple operations in Shopian and Anantnag in south Kashmir on Sunday.

 

Four civilians were also killed and over 100 protesters injured in the clashes that followed the operations in Kachidoora and Draghad, raising tensions in the Valley again. Internet services were snapped shortly after the clashes broke out at many places in south Kashmir and some parts of Srinagar, an official said.

Train services were also suspended in the Valley. Examinations scheduled for April 2 have been cancelled after students held demonstrations in Kashmir University. All schools will remain closed too, said the official.

Under house arrest

Following a two-day strike call issued by separatists, Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik were placed under house arrest.

 

At a press conference at the Victor Force headquarters at Awantipura, General Officer Commanding (GoC), 15 Corps, Lt. Gen. A.K Bhatt, said, “Among the slain terrorists, two were involved in the killing of Lt. Umar Fayyaz in May (of 2017). We have avenged his death.”

Slain militants, Rayees Thokar and Ishfaq Malik of the Hizbul Mujahideen, were responsible for the abduction and killing of Lt. Fayyaz last year. Another slain militant Zubair Turay was involved in the killing of an SHO and a BJP leader, the police said.

At a joint press conference of the Army, police and CRPF, Director-General of Police S.P. Vaid said the multiple operations were “initiated after the credible leads about militants’ presence.”

Dialgam gunfight

He said one local militant was killed and another arrested with the help of the family in Anantnag’s Dialgam encounter, which started on Friday evening; seven local militants were killed in the Draghad gunfight and three in Kachidoora in Shopian. “Several jawans of the Army, the police and the CRPF suffered injuries,” said Mr. Vaid. “We are searching for one more body in the debris,” said a police official.

The slain militants belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The identity of the three militants killed at Kachidoora could not be ascertained immediately, said the police.

The three Army personnel killed in the Kachidoora encounter were identified as Sepoy Hetram, Grenadier Nilesh Singh and Grenadier Arvinder Kumar.

Civilian casualties

Four civilians, including Mushtaq Ahmad Thoker from Draghad, who was sent by the Army inside the house where militants were hiding was found dead. Locals alleged the Army “did not spare Thoker during the encounter although he helped them.”

Three civilians were killed during the clashes that erupted in Kachidoora and one was killed in Draghad, according to the hospital sources. Locals alleged that the security forces had used “indiscriminate force” against protesters.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed grief over the death of four civilians and also sympathised with those injured,” an official spokesperson said.

The killings fuelled violent protests in large parts of the Valley, especially Shopian, Kulgam, Sopore and Srinagar. Hundreds of local people joined the funerals of the slain militants, which sparked fresh clashes in Shopian.

(With PTI inputs)


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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 6:56:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/militants-killed-in-multiple-operations-in-south-kashmir/article23405648.ece

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