Scores of people were injured in clashes with the security forces near the gunfight site at Tazipora- Mohamadpora village in this south Kashmir district on Wednesday.
The clashes broke out during the cordon and search operationlaunched by the security forces following inputs about the presence ofmilitants in the area.
Superintendent of Police, Kulgam, Gurinder Pal Singh, saidthat three Jaish militants managed to escape after the initial round of firing."One among them received bullet injury," Singh told Greater Kashmir.
"We called off the operation in the afternoon after no deadbody was retrieved from the encounter site," he said, adding that "the reportsabout locals rescued the militants from the debris of the house during thefirefight are not true."
However, eyewitnesses said that the locals rescued twomilitants from the debris of the house which was flattened after being blown upby the security forces.
A police official said at around 11:00 pm on Tuesday, Army's9RR, Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police and CentralReserve Police Force ring-fencedTazipora- Mohamadpora village in Kulgam district and launched searches. "Thesearches continued throughout the night. In the pre-dawn hours as the securityforces closed in towards the house where a group of militants were holed up,they came under heavy fire. The fire was retaliated resulting in brief exchangeof fire," a police official said.
He said that all the three militants might have escaped thenonly.
A source, however, said that while three militants managedto flee under the cover of darkness two others were pushed back into the house.
"The security forces in the morning, started blowing up thehouse where they suspected more militants were hiding even as gunshots wereheard intermittently," he said.
The house was finally flattened to the ground and thesecurity forces launched searches to retrieve any possible bodies of militantsfrom the rubble. However, as the searches started in the wee hours, people inlarge numbers converged near the gun battle site and disrupted the operation byresorting to heavy stone pelting on the security forces. "They (securityforces) in turn retaliated by lobbing teargas shells and firing metallicpellets. They even opened fire," said a local Tariq Ahmad.
However, he said the locals kept on offering stiffresistance following which security forces called off the operation and leftthe gun battle site. "People then movedtowards the house and dug out two militants alive from the rubble which wasraised to the ground during the gun battle," the witnesses claimed.
Scores of people were injured after security forces firedlive ammunition on the protesters who pelted them with stones. The injured wereshifted to Primary Health Centre Mahmoodpora and a few of them were taken todistrict hospital Kulgam for treatment.
The Chief Medical Officer Kulgam, Dr Fazil Kochak said,"Most of the injured had minor injuries and were treated at the health facilityitself. A few injured persons, one among them, Yawar Ahmad Lone, 18, wasshifted to district hospital Kulgam," the CMO said. "Among the injured, Yawarhad received a bullet injury, while others had received pellets in eyes. Theywere referred to SMHS Srinagar for advanced treatment," Dr Kochak added.
Doctors at district hospital Anantnag said they receivedthree pellet injuries. Two among them were hit in eyes and were referred toSMHS. "He (Yawar) needed eight points of 0 negative blood and after arrangingit, he was operated upon. His condition continues to be critical," doctors atSMHS hospital in Srinagar said.
They said those with pellet injuries in eyes also need to beoperated upon.
Meanwhile, mobile internet service in the district wassuspended soon after the gunfight started.