30 injured in clashes, Forces fire into mourners, kill civilian
Five militants were killed in an eight-hour-long operation at Killora village in Shopian district on Saturday. As many as 30 civilians sustained injuries in the clashes which broke out after the operation ended. A civilian, Bilal Ahmed Khan, who had gone to attend the funeral prayers of a militant, was shot dead by the forces at Ganowpora, Balpora.
5 MILITANTS KILLED AT KILLORA
A police official said that on a “tip-off”, a joint force of 44 Rashtriya Rifles battalion of army, Central Reserve Police Force soldiers and police cordoned off Killora village, 5 km from main Shopian town, on late Friday evening and launched searches. “Militants present there opened fire on the search party which was retaliated triggering a gunfight,” he said, adding that in the initial exchange of firing district commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba identified as Umar Nazir Malik of Malikgund, Shopian, was killed while four others managed to take refuge in a tin shed.
“The intermittent firing continued till morning and the gun battle ended with the killing of all the four militants,” the police officer added.
The deceased militants were identified as Arshad Ahmad Khan son of Abdul Rashid Khan of Ganowpora, Balpora, Shopian; Aijaz Ahmad Paul alias Salahudeenbhai son of Abdul Rasheed of Lasdenow, Shopian; Waqar Ahmed Sheikh alias Abu Huraria son of Muhammad Aslam Sheikh of Malik Gund, Shopian and Arif Mir of Pahalgam, Anantnag.
30 INJURED IN CLASHES
As the searches were on at Killora village, hundreds of people assembled at some distance from the site of gunfight and pelted forces with stones, a witness said.
“The forces responded by firing live ammunition into the crowd injuring as many as 25 civilians,” he added.
An official at the district hospital Shopian said that they received 25 people with bullet and pellet injuries.
“Five persons with pellet injuries and three with bullet wounds were rushed to the SMHS hospital in Srinagar,” the official said.
Another official at PHC Bathipora said that they received five injured civilians. One of them had sustained bullet injury in his shoulder. He was referred to the SMHS Hospital.
CIVILIAN KILLED AT GANOWPORA
A witness said that militants appeared at Ganowpora village and offered gun salute to one of their fallen colleagues, Arshad Ahmad Khan. “Soon after the militants left army soldiers from nearby camp appeared in the village and fired into the mourners killing a civilian Bilal Ahmed Khan on the spot and injuring many others,” he said.
Army’s Srinagar based spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said that Khan was killed in “cross firing.”
“The army troops came under fire from militants near Ganowpora orchards. They retaliated, in the cross fire one civilian unfortunately got injured, who later succumbed to the injury.”
NAVEED JATT APPEARS AT MALIKGUND
Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant NaveedJatt made a dramatic appearance at the funeral of the killed militant Waqar Ahmed Sheikh at Malikgund in Shopian, PTI reported.
It may be recalled that Jatt had escaped from police custody on February 6, 2018 while being taken to a hospital in Srinagar.