Government forces on Sunday fired live ammunition and pellet guns killing five young men and injured at least 130 more at four locations in southern Kashmir where huge and spontaneous demonstrations took place following death of five militants in a firefight.
Three of the civilians were killed near the encounter site at Badigam –Nagbal in Imam Sahib as hundreds tried to help the five rebels escape from a siege.
As news of top Hizb commander, Saddam Paddar and his four associates trapped inside a military cordon spread, people poured into the village and started throwing stones at government forces.
The numbers kept on swelling even as the forces lobbed tear canisters, fired pellets before firing live ammunition to disperse them.
Several protesters sustained injuries in the clashes with dozens hit by bullets deadly pellets.
Four of the critically injured protesters succumbed to their injuries at different hospitals. Asif Mir of Ruhmu in Pulwama who was hit by a bullet in his head died at Srinagar's SMHS hospital in the afternoon becoming the first civilian casualty of the day.
Soon, news came in that Sajad Ahmad Rather of Dooru Anantnag and Zubair Ahmad of Ayan Gund Rajpora (Pulwama) also died at district hospital Shopian, and on way to Pulwama district hospital respectively.
Witnesses said army personnel camped at Killora, Shopian also fired at protesters killing one more, identified as Nasir Ahmad Kumar of Arihal, Pulwama.
In yet another incident soldiers opened fire at Bihbagh in Kulgam district killing Adil Ahmad of Ashmuji.
"He was bought dead to hospital," a doctor at district hospital Kulgam told Greater Kashmir.
"The army firing was unprovoked as there were no protests in the area," Shabir Ahmad, a villager alleged.
Army also opened fire at Chitgaram village of Zainapora resulting in bullet injuries to at least six persons, some of whom were stated to be in critical condition by doctors.
Clashes against killing of five Hizb militants were also reported from other parts of southern Kashmir.
"We received at least 83 injuries in the day, 73 of whom were (by) pellets" a hospital official in Shopian told Greater Kashmir.
Kulgam district hospital received two bullet and four pellet injuries. Forty, including thirteen bullet injuries were shifted to SMHS hospital in Srinagar for treatment.
"Twenty seven pellet injuries, six among them in eyes were also being treated there," a doctor said.
An army PRO said the army was ascertaining details about the firing incidents.