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CARNAGE : 7 civilians, 3 militants, army man killed in Pulwama encounter, clashes

Srinagar, Dec 15:In one the year’s deadliest such incidents, seven civilians were shot dead and at least 50 others injured as government forces fired live ammunition at civilians during clashes erupting after a gunfight that left three militants and a soldier dead in Pulwama.

The encounter broke out in Kharpora Sirnoo village of the district soon after the government forces launched a cordon-and-search-operationon the basis ofa tip-off about the presence of militants.

An army spokesman in Srinagar said that three militants and a soldier were killed in the gunfight.

An official at district hospital Pulwama said that six injured youth were declared dead at the facility.

He identified them as Shahbaz Ali, resident of Monghama village, Suhail Ahmad of Bellow, Liyaqat Ahmad from Parigam, Aqib Bashir from Prichoo, Amir Ahmad Palla of Ashminder and Abid Hussain Lone of Kareemabad.

The three militants were identified as Zahoor Ahmad Thoker son of Abdul Majid Thoker resident of Sirnoo Pulwama.

Pertinently, Zahoor had deserted from Army last year and joined Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant outfit.

Two other slain militants were identified as Adnan alias TahirHizbifrom Karimabad and Bilal alias Hashimfrom Rajpora.

They too were associated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit.

A youth from Pulwama who was admitted in SMHS hospital here in Srinagar later succumbed to injuries, taking the civilian death toll to seven.

The deceased was identified as Tanveer Ahmad Mir son of Asadullah Mir of Urchersoo Pulwama.

Touseef was injured in forces action in Sirnoo and was taken to district hospital Pulwama where from he was referred to SMHS Srinagar. He, however, succumbed later due to grave injuries.

Local reports said that government forces resorted to live ammunition besides pellets and tear smoke shells near the encounter site to chase away the protesters.

Dozens of them were injured were brought to the district where from many were referred to Srinagar’ SMHS hospital.

A police spokesman briefing about the encounter said the forces launched a search operation in an open field where the militants had made a hideout.

However, the hiding militants fired indiscriminately leading to an encounter, the spokesman said.

Three Army personnel were injured of which one succumbed at a hospital later on.

“While the operation was going on, a crowd who came dangerously close from different parts to the encounter site got injured.The injured were evacuated to hospital where unfortunately seven persons succumbed to their injuries. Others who were admitted in the hospital are stated to be stable,” the police spokesman said.

“The loss of civilians is deeply grieved. Police once again appeals the citizens to remain away from encounter site as it is a prohibited zone which involves significant danger to life because of nature of the encounter,” he added. .

Soon after the killings, authorities snapped internet services across south and central Kashmir.

A spontaneous shutdown was observed in south Kashmir, Srinagar, and parts of Budgam following the casualties.

Shops and other business establishments shut while traffic movement got thinned in these areas with the passage of time.

Reports of protests and clashes were reported at Sopore and Srinagar where the students of Degree Colleges took to streets and clashed with forces.

The forces used tear smoke shells to quell the protests. However, there was no immediate report of any injury.