7 civilians among 11 killed in encounter, protests in Kashmir

7 civilians among 11 killed in encounter, protests in Kashmir

KASHMIR: Seven civilians died in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday when security forces allegedly opened fire at an unruly crowd that tried to storm the site of an encounter in which three militants and an Army man were killed, police said.nnThe 11 deaths took place after security forces laid siege to a locality in Sirnoo village following intelligence reports about the presence of three militants, including Army deserter Zahoor Ahmad Thoker who belonged to the same village.nnSeveral civilians were also injured in the firing that followed the encounter, officials said.nnPolitical parties in Kashmir condemned the killings, saying Governor Satya Pal Malik-led administration has “failed” to secure people’s lives.nnAuthorities suspended mobile internet services in most parts of Kashmir, including Srinagar, to prevent escalation in tension following the deaths.nnLocal residents had thronged the encounter site after hearing that Zahoor Thoker was among the militants trapped there, police officials said.nnThough the encounter ended in 25 minutes with the killing of the three militants, the security forces faced a tough time as people started climbing onto Army vehicles, they said.nnOfficials said warning shots were fired but that did not deter the mob, forcing the security forces to open fire at the civilians.nnSeven civilians were killed and dozens injured, including a youth whose condition was said to be critical.nnThoker had gone missing from an Army unit in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district in July last year.nnHe had decamped with his service rifle and three magazines and joined the militant ranks.nnSecurity forces said Thoker was involved in several killings in Pulwama district.nnThe identities of two other militants were being ascertained.nnOfficials said an Army jawan was killed in the gunfight and two other soldiers were in a critical condition.nnNo probe enough to bring back the dead innocent civilians, Peoples Democratic Party president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.nnSouth Kashmir has been reeling under fear for the last 6 months. Is this what was expected from Gov rule? she added.nnNo country can win a war by killing its own people, she said in another tweet.nnNational Conference vice president Omar Abdullah questioned the way the operation was carried out.nnAny way you look at it this was a badly executed encounter. Protests around encounter sites are now the norm not the exception. Why are we unable to learn how to handle them better? “he tweeted.nnAnother blood soaked weekend in Kashmir, he said, tallying the deaths of protesters, militants and the jawan.nn”The administration of Governor Malik has one task & one task only – to focus on the security of the people of J&K & restore peace to a troubled valley. Sadly it appears that’s the only thing the administration is not doing,” he tweeted.nnSeparatist-turned-politicians and former minister Sajad Lone said the administration needs to “seriously evaluate” the costs of such anti-militancy operations.nnIf u 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,” he tweeted.nnSource: Press Trust of India

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.