Local residents on Wednesday reportedly disrupted an anti-militancy operation of security forces in Arwani village of Bijbehara in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
A source said that army, police, CRPF laid siege and launched searches in Arwani village following inputs about the presence of militants.
“As the searches were being carried people came out and clashed with the forces in a bid to help the besieged militants escape. The forces fired tear gas shells and metallic pellets on the protesters,” he said.
The protesters, however, did not relent and disrupted the operation.
At least six people sustained injuries and were treated at Frisal hospital in nearby Kulgam district.
“Even as searches continued throughout the day but nothing was found following which security forces called off the operation,” the source said.
He said the militants might have escaped taking advantage of the clashes.
The internet service in the district was again suspended as soon as the siege was laid in the village.
Security forces have intensified the anti-militancy operations in the district following the attack by a JeM militant at KP Road in Anantnag town last Wednesday that left five CRPF men dead and three others injured.
SHO Anantnag Inspector Arshad Khan was also killed in the attack.
On Monday, a Pakistani JeM militant and an Army Major were killed, while another Major rank officer and two troopers were injured in an encounter in Badroo-Achabal area of Anantnag district. A civilian also was killed during the firefight.
On Tuesday in yet another gunfight that erupted in Marhama village of Bijbehara two local JeM militants and an army man were killed.
One among the deceased, according to police was Sajad Ahmad Bhat alias Afzal Guru who had joined Jaish-e-Mohammad’s Fidayeen squad days after the Lethpora attack on February 14 after National Investigation Agency found him to be the owner of the car used in the attack. The attack had left at least 40 CRPF men dead.
Before security forces would arrest Sajad, he went missing and barely hours later his photo carrying an AK-47 went viral on social media announcing his plunge into JeM ranks.
The other deceased militant Tauseef Ahmad Bhat, police said was instrumental in recruiting Sajad.
JEM MILITANTS LAID TO REST AT MARHAMA:
Sajad, 19, a student of local seminary was laid to rest at his native village Marhama after the government declined the plea of the family for allowing his father Maqbool Bhat – a Jamat I Islami affiliate – serving jail in Jammu jail under PSA to be released on parole.
“We had sought the release of his father on humanitarian grounds so as he can perform his son’s last rites. But as the requested was turned down, we had no option but to lower him in the grave in absence of his father,” the family said.
Earlier, Tauseef was also laid to rest in the same village.
He had completed graduation when he picked up the arms.
His father is a government employee, while his elder brother is pursuing MBBS from a government medical college.
Meanwhile, according to Muhamad Ashraf Bhat and Abdul Hamid Bhat of Marhama their house and cowshed located some hundred meters away from the gun-battle site was allegedly set ablaze by the security forces.
“As the firing stopped the security forces set our house and cowshed on fire. We lost all our belongings in the blaze and barely managed to save our cattle,” they alleged.
However, a police official said, the house might have caught fire during exchange of fire.
ACHABAL MOURNS THE KILLING OF STUDENT:
Achabal areas of Anantnag district observed shutdown for the second straight day against the killing of a student Nasir Ahmad Mir (19) son of Fayaz Ahmad Mir of Chak Achabal whose dead body was found near Monday’s encounter site yesterday morning.
Nasir and his father were working at their paddy field away from the gun-battle at Badoora village in which a Pakistani JeM militant and a Major rank officer were killed and three others including another Major were injured.
“He left for home to bring tea but went missing,” said his uncle Sayar Ahmad.
He said, even after the gunfight concluded the family looked for him but could not locate him.
“It was yesterday morning that people spotted his dead body,” Ahmad said.
He said he had a bullet wound in his chest and had lost a lot of blood.
Police said they were investigating the circumstances of his death.