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20 killed on bloody Sunday in three south Kashmir encounters

Firdous Hassan



Umar Ganie

Srinagar, Apr 01: The first Sunday of April 2018 turned out the bloodiest, witnessing killing of at least 20 people including 12 militants, four civilians and three forces personnel in three separate encounters and post-gunfight clashes in south Kashmir’s Shopian and Anantnag districts.
The identity of the 20th slain person was yet to be ascertained when the report was being filed.
At least, 150 protestors were also injured, many of them critically, during clashes with forces.
Seven militants and a civilian were killed in the one of the three gunfights of the day that erupted early Sunday morning in Dragad village of Shopian district.
Six of the slain militants belonged to Hizb outfit while the seventh one was associated with LeT.
Police identified the militants as Yawar Itoo from Safnagri Zainpora, Nazim Ahmad Dar of Urpora Nagbal, Adil Thokar of Humhona, Ubaid Ahmad Malla, a resident of Trenz, Reyaz Thoker of Paderpora, Ishfaq Malik of Pinjoora Shopian and Zubair Turay of Bongam Shopian.
As per police, the group had joined Hizb in 2017 and was involved in series of cases of attacks on forces.
“Killing of Lt. Umer Fayaz is one among them,” a police spokesman said.
A civilian, Mushtaq Ahmad Thoker, reportedly the house owner, too was killed by forces during the encounter.
In another encounter of the day at Dialgam Anantnag, a local militant identified as Rauf Khanday was killed while another surrendered, police said.
“One militant killed in Dialgam Anantnag after efforts of his family and J&K Police failed to surrender, one caught alive. In Dragad Shopian 7 bodies of militants recovered including top commanders,” a top police officer wrote on Twitter.
The house where the militants were holed up was completely damaged during the encounter.
In the third encounter of the day, at least four militants and three forces personnel were killed in Kachdoora area of Shopian.
“Total militants killed in Kachdoora encounter have found to be four whereas about the fifth one police is ascertaining facts,” a police spokesman said.
“Three army men were also killed and a civilian namely Zubair Ahmad Bhat resident of Gopalpora received fire arm injury in cross fire and subsequently succumbed,” a police official said.
One civilian Mehraj-ud-Din Mir, a resident of Okey village in Kulgam was killed during clashes with forces.
One more civilian Iqbal Bhat son of Manzoor Ahmad of Khasipora Shopian who had received bullet injuries was brought dead to SKIMS Soura.
Meanwhile, in a joint press conference by police, army and paramilitary CRPF, the top officials of the forces’ said on Saturday night they launched anti-militancy operations at the south Kashmir three places, following information about the presence of large number of militants.
Giving details about the operation, Director General of Police S P Vaid said that all the slain militants were a combination of different outfits.
Terming it a “special day” for forces, GoC Core 15, Lt Gen AK Bhatt said that two of the militants were involved in the killing of Army officer Umar Fayaz.
“With their killing, the death of Umar Fayaz has been avenged. So my appeal to young people of Kashmir who have picked up the gun is that they should not get carried away by Pak and their proxies,” he said.
On civilian injuries, IG (Operations) of CRPF, Zulfikar Hassan said that they witnessed heavy stone pelting and protests near the encounter sites.
“It could be a design to help trapped militants as lot of people rushed to the encounter sites. But our operations won’t stop with antinational activities by some people. We won’t even shy away from taking strict action also,” he said.
He appealed the people to stay away from encounter sites. “Anybody can get hurt when there is firing from different directions.”
People, eyewitnesses said, swarmed towards the encounter sites and pelted stones at the forces.
Reports said that intense clashes erupted at Draggad and Kachidura after militant killings during which over 200 civilians were injured.
“The forces fired pellets and bullets indiscriminately at people, who were protesting in the village. Many have been injured grievously,” an eye witness told The Kashmir Monitor.
Reports said that clashes erupted in Srinagar parts and north following killing of 11 militants.
In Srinagar, young took to the streets in Nowhatta, Shalteng, Tengpora and Batmaloo.
Traders downed their shutters while traffic movement also decreased after noon.
Following protest at various areas, authorities snapped in south Kashmir and Srinagar district.
“We have snapped internet in three districts initially and later the service was snapped in two more districts,” IGP SP Pani said.
Authorities also blocked train service from south to Srinagar district.



Lead Stories

3 militants killed in Budgam encounter



Srinagar, Jan 21: Three militant of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed in an encounter at Hapatnar woods in Charar-e-Shareef area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday.

News agency Global News Service quoted a senior police officer saying that a joint team of Army’s 53 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation in forest area of Hapatnar early Monday morning following “credible inputs” about the presence of some militants.

As the joint team of forces intensified the combing operation, the militants hiding in the area opened fire triggering off a gunfight which continued intermittently till late in the evening.


During the course of gunfight, three militants belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed, the officer said.

The operation was prolonged due to the tough terrain amid inclement weather conditions, he added.”So far one body has been recovered along with arms and ammunition. The other two bodies which are lying inside the hideout are yet to be retrieved,” the officer said.

“The identity of the slain is being ascertained,” the officer said.

The officer said that the government forces have also blasted the hideout of the militants in the mountainous area, covered under plenty of snow.

Meanwhile, sources identified one among the slain Shahid Baba of Drabgam, Pulwama. (With inputs from GNS)

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Snow, rains persist: Land, air traffic disrupted



Srinagar, Jan 21: Although not as severe as predicted, fresh snowfall and rains were Monday lashed Kashmir bringing some respite to the people from the cold wave.
The plains of Kashmir witnessed moderate rainfall from early hours of Monday, while there were reports of snowfall in higher reaches of the valley, officials said here.
The MeT Office has forecast widespread rain and snow over the state with heavy falls at isolated places till Tuesday.
Meanwhile, traffic on the 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu highway was halted because of heavy snowfall on the stretch.
“Today no movement of vehicular traffic on Jammu Srinagar NHW from Jammu towards Srinagar and vice versa as road blocked due to snow accumulation at Nowgam-Jawahar Tunnel-Qazigund Sector and still snowing,” J&K Traffic Police tweeted Monday morning.
Bad weather conditions also disrupted operations at the Srinagar International Airport here, leading to the cancellation of four flights, officials said.
“Due to the inclement weather, four of the 27 flights to and fro Srinagar were cancelled on Monday,” an official of the Airport Authority of India.
Another 11 flights got delayed due to poor visibility and intermittent rainfall since Monday morning, he said.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar on Sunday settled at minus 0.3 degree Celsius, same as previous night, a MET official said.
He said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, in south Kashmir recorded a low of 0.6 degree Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius Sunday night.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.6 degree Celsius. Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius Sunday night, while Pahalgam tourist resort, in south Kashmir, recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, while the mercury in Kargil registered a low of minus 14.0 degrees Celsius. Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, colder than even Drass town which recorded a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
‘Chillai Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai Bachha’ (baby cold).

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Lead Stories

Lack of funds halts vital JK tourism projects

Bisma Bhat



Srinagar, Jan 21: The Governor-led administration is mulling to start new projects to boost tourism in Kashmir even as several old ones have been left midway due to want of funds.

In December last year, the administration ordered the constitution of an official panel for identification of new projects in tourism sector to be implemented under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP).

Back in 2014, the Government of India, under Project/Infrastructure Development for Destination and Circuits (PIDDC), had sanctioned Rs 7593.88 lakh for development of basic tourism infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir through private investment, opening of new potential destinations and development of heritage, adventure, and pilgrim and eco-tourism.


However, the projects have been left incomplete as the Centre has, as per the latest official data, released only Rs 3504.80 lakh of the sanctioned amount against which the department shows 100 percent expenditure.

Now, due to the unavailability of funds, the PIDDC project is on standstill.

The project included development of Eidgah, face-lifting of Khankahi Moula, Development of Jamia Masjid Heritage Corridor, Renovation of Aali Masjid, Upgrading of Ziyarat Abdul Razaq Sahib at Hawal, Ziyarat Hazrat Balaad Rumi at Rajouri Kadal, Ziyarat Akhoon Sahib and TajBibi at Fateh Kadal, Ziyarat Hazrat Noor Shaha Sahib at Narwara, and Conservation of areas from Naagar Nagar to Watlab.

The tourist circuit from Naagar Nagar to Watlab, which was a key component of the project, still requires Rs 2312.90 lakh to be completed, official data shows.

Another main component of PIDDC project, construction of Trans Himalayan Culture Centre in Leh, too requires further Rs 1094.48 lakh for completion.

Similarly, development of Khiram Shrine in South Kashmir’s Bijbehara town also remains incomplete for want of funds.
Section Officer of Planning, Tourism Department, Sajad Ahmad, told The Kashmir Monitor that “65 per cent” of the work has been completed on Naagar Nagar to Watlab component of the project.

“We had to stop the work because the Centre did not release the funds,” he added.

Executive Engineer, JK Tourism, Abdul Qayoom Kirmani said they have asked the Government of India for the pending funds and also sent to them the proposal of the new projects.
“We have identified new Rs 100 crore new projects under PMDP-II, which comprises of nine circuits,” he said.

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January 2019
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