Protests during encounter at Pulwama

Militant Killed; DSP, SHO Among 15 Injured In Clashes

KHALID GUL
Publish Date: Aug 5 2011 12:00PM

Pulwama, Aug 4: Six civilians including a Panch and nine police personnel were injured when people protested after a local militant was trapped by government forces on Thursday. The militant was later killed after a fierce gunbattle following which angry protesters torched a police vehicle.
“The incident occurred when government forces, who were engaged in a gunbattle with a militant in Puchul village in Pulwama district, came under attack from locals,” eyewitnesses said.
They said as soon as people came to know that a local militant has been trapped they started marching towards the encounter site and pelted stones and bricks at the government forces which were retaliated with teargas shells, batons and aerial firing. However, the protesters offered stiff resistance after which police fired rubber bullets.
Four people were injured in the firing, eyewitnesses said. The injured were identified as Hilal Ahmad Lone of Ratnipora, Tanveer Ahmad Wani of Pinglina, Younis Ahmad of Ratnipora and Farooq Ahmad Mir of Ratnipora. All the injured were referred to district hospital Pulwama for treatment.
Farooq, who according to the locals is a Panch of National Conference (NC), received a rubber bullet in his arm.
During the clashes three police constables and Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP), Headquarters, Abdul Rashid, were also injured.
Earlier, police and army’s 55 RR after receiving a tip-off about the presence of militants launched a search operation in Kharpora Mohalla of Puchul village on Wednesday night, sources said.
The cordon continued till morning when a sole militant present in the house of Abdul Aziz Khan refused to surrender and opened fire on the soldiers triggering an encounter, sources said.
They said a 10-hour long fierce gunbattle raged since this morning, during which a local militant identified as Shakoor Ahmad Teli S/O Abdul Aziz of Trech, Pinglina, Pulwama was killed. The slain militant, sources said, was a District Commander of Lashkar-i-Toiba (Let) militant outfit.
During the encounter, locals said, helicopter movement of the army was also noticed.
Sources added that 1 AK 47 Rifle and 1 magazine was recovered from the encounter site while the residential house of Abdul Aziz Khan was razed to ground in the gunfight. Khan, locals said, was recently elected as a Panch of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the area.
As soon as the news of the killing of the local militant spread in the area hundreds  of people from the native village of the militant and the adjoining villages, amid pro-freedom slogans, took to streets.
The angry protesters attacked a police vehicle at Puchul and set it ablaze. Police retaliated by firing tear gas shells triggering clashes during which five more cops including SHO Kakpora, Niyaz Hussain, were injured. Two protesters also sustained injuries. The protests were going on when last reports came in even as the body of the slain militant was yet to be handed over to his family.