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Civilian, militant killed in Shopian gunfight

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A civilian and a militant were killed during a gunfight at Khudpora area of Shopian in south Kashmir on Saturday night.

According to police, two militants managed to escape from the gunfight site.

Locals and official sources said that while body of a militant was recovered on Saturday, the corpse of the civilian identified as Shahid Manzoor Mir was recovered on Sunday morning.

 

Locals also censured police authorities for claiming the civilian to be militant and abjuring duty of protecting common man from any harm as part of SOP.

Earlier, the encounter ensued last night after a joint team of army and SOG launched a cordon-and-search operation at Khudpora village.

During the course of gunfight one militant identified as Irfan Ahmad Bhat son of Ali Mohammad of Bandzoo Pulwama at present Nanihaal Gund Haadu, Memendar Shopian is claimed to have been killed by the government forces and have also claimed recovery of an AK-47 rifle.

Police Version

Police and state forces in Khudpora area of District  Shopian, launched a cordon and search operation yesterday evening based on credible inputs about the presence of militants in the area.

As the search operation was going on, hiding militants fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter.

Meanwhile following  the SOP, civilians from the nearby area were evacuated to safer places.

In the ensuing encounter, hiding militants fired on security forces. Consequently post encounter during the search two dead bodies were recovered from the site of encounter. The killed militant has been identified as Mohd Irfan Bhat of Pulwama who was associated with HM outfit since June 2017.

The  other one  was identified as Shahid Mir  who as per the police records  was  part of case FIR 201/2004 under section 7/25 Arms Act of police station Shopian for militancy related incident.

A couple of militants managed to escape from the site as blood trails have been seen at the site.

Moreover, the house where  the encounter took place is intact albiet a hideout was found inside the house where militants were hiding.

Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.

Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the instant matter for ascertaining the facts pertaining to militants hiding in the said house and other related matters to this incident.

Family, locals reject police claim, maintain Shahid was civilian

Srinagar, Nov 4 : Locals on Sunday rejected police claims regarding civilian Shahid Manzoor Mir, one of the two persons killed during an encounter in Khudpora, Gagran area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

The other slain has been identified as Irfan Ahmad Bhat son of Ali Mohammad of Bandzoo Pulwama at present Gund Haadu, Memendar, Shopian.

In a statement, police have not convincingly stated whether Shahid is a civilian or a militant or an OGW even as it has alluded his involvement in a militant-related case registered way back in 2014.

Nothing is forthcoming from the statement as regards the fate of the FIR registered 14-years back as it is silent whether it culminated into charge sheet against Shahid or any other person who might have been involved in the case.

The statement is also silent whether the case has been closed as untraced or there has been acquittals or conviction of any person.

The police statement is baseless as Shahid was civilian and police are deliberately trying to implicate him in a non-existent case. Where was the police in last 14-years and why is it that when the civilian was killed that reference has been made to the case which according to police registered 14-years ago,” the family and the locals told GNS and rejected the police reference.

The family said that he was working as a contractor dealing with shattering of houses and other buildings. The slain civilian is survived by a wife and one-year-old child besides aged parents.

Meanwhile, both the slain were laid to rest amid pro-freedom slogans and thousands of people attended their funeral at their respective native villages.

In a statement issued here, the police spokesman said:  “Police and security forces in Khudpora area of District  Shopian, launched a cordon and search operation yesterday evening based on credible inputs about the presence of militants in the area”.

As the search operation was going on, hiding militants fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter, he said.

“Meanwhile following the SOP, civilians from the nearby area were evacuated to safer places. In the ensuing encounter, hiding militants fired on security forces. Consequently, post-encounter during the search two bodies were recovered from the site of the encounter,” the spokesman said.

The killed militant has been identified as Mohd Irfan Bhat of Pulwama who was associated with HM terror outfit since June 2017. The other one was identified as Shahid Mir who as per the police records was part of case FIR 201/2004 under section 7/25 Arms Act of police station Shopian for the militant-related incident, he said.

A couple of militants managed to escape from the site as blood trails have been seen at the site, he said.

Moreover, the house where the encounter took place is intact albeit a hideout was found inside the house where militants were hiding, he said.

“Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Police have registered a case and initiated investigation in the instant matter for ascertaining the facts pertaining to militants hiding in the said house and other related matters to this incident,” he said.

Citizens are once again requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any, the spokesman added. (GNS)

 

 


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Lethpora bombing fallout: Kashmiris in Jammu, elsewhere face rage

Ensure Kashmiris are safe: Centre to states

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Feb 16: Tensions continued to simmer in J&K after violence against Kashmiris was reported in Jammu and other states across India on Saturday as well.

The incidents are fallout of the Thursday’s bombing on the highway in Pulwama in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed after a local Jaish fidayeen rammed an explosive filled vehicle into the forces’ convoy.

Like Friday, Saturday too saw mobs attacking a number of quarters belonging to Kashmiris, especially ones at Janipur area, amid an officially declared curfew in the state’s winter capital.

 

A number of people called from Janipur and said they were attacked by the frenzied mobs despite the presence of police.

The mobs entered inside the premises and attacked quarters of Kashmiris while police, according to the callers, remained a mute spectator.

On Friday, there was widespread violence in which mobs torched 30 vehicles and damaged over 50 of them during a strike called by the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Bar Association against Thursday’s attack.

Not just in Jammu, Kashmiris, including students and businessmen, in others states were at the receiving end of right-wing violence.

Some of the Valleyites putting up in Bihar, Dehradun and Punjab were targeted by unruly mobs, who asked them to vacate their rented premises and leave the state.

Students being the soft target were beaten ruthlessly by the angered crowd in Dehradun. The 12 Kashmiri boys are students of Dev Bhoomi, BFIT, and Alpine college of Dehradun.

Others putting up in rented accommodations and hostels in Dehradun and Haryana were forced to vacate their lodgings by the landlords. The anger was predictably visible on social media with students receiving abusive texts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.“I was asked by landlord to vacate within 24 hours,” said Umar, who studies in a college in Dehradun.

“I can’t think of travelling by air since the fares are too high. To make the matters worse, the highway is closed and Jammu is under siege. In such a scenario, going by road is not an option,” he lamented.

Asked why he was asked to vacate, Umar said: “The goons threatened to vandalise the property of my landlord if I didn’t leave the building.”

Another student hailing from Kupwara who too studies in Dehradun, said, “Our hopes of studying here for quality education are dashed. We are vulnerable and have nowhere to go. The politicians will never give a thought about our well-being. Their concern is to gain votes.”

A student studying in Jammu wishing not to be named said, “I received threatening texts on FB and Twitter. The sender asked me that revenge will be taken, using many cuss words.”

Many videos surfaced on social media showing the escalating mob violence. In one of videos, the Kashmiri shopkeepers in Bihar are threatened by mob to close their shops in 24 hours and leave the state.

Jammu has remained on the edge since Friday as bricks were hurled towards the residential quarters of Durbar Move employees. A similar pattern was witnessed on Saturday in sensitive areas like Janipora and Rehari, Subhashnagar.
Secretariat Employees Union President Ghulam Rasool Mir condemned the attacks and urged the administration to ensure the safety of the people from Kashmir.

“The feeling of defenselessness in the face of mob violence cannot be described. Despite the assurances that the security cover will be provided, we know from bitter experience that the cops won’t act when mobs run amok,” he said.
Kashmiris out of the valley, meanwhile, continued to share on social media the dangers they faced.

Akash Hassan, a valley-based journalist posted on Facebook: “I am in Jammu from last two days and without a reliable internet connection. The situation is terrible here. Can someone help me get out from Raghunath Bazar to Chenni area? I am confined to my hotel room. There is strict curfew.

I don’t know how long hoteliers will allow Kashmiris to stay in their hotels. They are also running short of supplies.”
Azmat Arif, a resident of Awantipora had this to post: “I have my brother at Dehradun. He is studying there. They are 8 students, no one is giving them any shelter … if anyone can get some help from anywhere …that will be much appreciated… I have tried to contact police.. and they are not taking my calls…. they are hiding right now….please someone help (sic).”

The messages are being circulated on social media platforms asking Kashmiris living outside to exercise caution.

Fellow Kashmiris are being asked to avoid discussion on Kashmir, stay in groups and avoid going to markets alone.

Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday said they have spoken to their counterparts in Dehradun following reports of harassment of Kashmiri students there. Besides, they have issued helpline numbers to ensure the safety of Kashmiris’ outside the state.

Ensure Kashmiris are safe: Centre to states
Press Trust of India
New Delhi, Feb 16: The Centre Saturday asked all states to ensure safety and security of the students and people from Jammu and Kashmir living in their areas in the wake of threats to them in some parts of the country, officials said.
The advisory came hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured an all-party meeting of doing the needful for the protection of the Kashmiri students and people who were allegedly threatened after the attack in Pulwama in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.
A Home Ministry official said there have been some reports of students and other residents of Jammu and Kashmir experiencing threats and intimidation. “Therefore, the Home Ministry today issued an advisory to all states/UTs to take necessary measures to ensure their safety and security,” the official said.
Some Kashmiri youths studying in the Uttarakhand capital, Dehradun, have alleged that they were harassed and have been asked by their landlords to vacate accommodations fearing attacks on their properties in the aftermath of the attack.

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Governor reviews situation, appeals for peace

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Jammu, Feb 16: Governor Satya Pal Malik convened a high level meeting at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday and reviewed the present law and order situation in the State in the aftermath of a major militant attack on a CRPF convoy and killings 49 troopers at Lethpora on Thursday.

The Governor directed the Police to take strict action without mercy against those indulging in any type of violence, arson or rumour mongering irrespective of political and religious affiliation.

The Governor reviewed the situation of students from Jammu and Kashmir State in various Universities and Colleges across the country.

 

He was informed that the Liaison Officers appointed at all major locations were working effectively and coordinating with University Authorities and local Police ensuring the safety of our students. Some minor developments happened in Baba Fareed Institute of Technology, Dehradun, Maharishi Markand University, Ambala and Chitkara University, Batti (HP).

In all three places, Liaison Officers worked with the Deans/ Vice Chancellors to ensure safety of J&K students. The Governor directed that the LOs should continue to be in close touch with J&K Students and ensure their safety.

The Governor was informed that the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu held the Peace Committee meeting in Jammu on Friday.

In the meeting, all Parties universally condemned the unfortunate incidents in Jammu city and agreed to restrain their supporters from indulging in any unlawful behaviour.

The Governor directed Divisional Commissioner, Jammu to hold another Peace Committee Meeting today and appeal to all parties to maintain peace and harmony.

The Governor asked all Political parties and senior Political leaders to appeal to people to maintain peace and harmony. He requested them not to pay heed to rumours or misleading information that is being circulated.

He appealed to the Political parties that in case any untoward incident comes to their knowledge, they should report it immediately to the Police or to anyone in the Government who will respond immediately rather than escalating the situation by calling for counter strikes in other parts of the State.

The Governor stated that the situation in Jammu has been restored back to almost normal and it should be our collective endeavour to maintain this.

The Governor appealed to the people to maintain peace and communal harmony so that the forces trying to disrupt the peaceful environs for their petty interests are defeated. He said that the people of the State have always believed in mutual brotherhood and co-existence throughout the ages.

The meeting was attended by Advisors, Vijay Kumar, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai, K K Sharma and K Skandan besides B V R Subramanyam, Chief Secretary, Dilbagh Singh, Director General of Police, Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to Governor, and Shaleen Kabra Principal Secretary, Home.
Jitendra meets Governor: Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office, called on Governor Satya Pal Malik at Raj Bhavan here on Saturday.

Governor and Dr. Singh discussed various important issues including prevailing law and order situation in Jammu. They hoped that the situation will normalize soon as the people of Jammu region are known for upholding the values of communal harmony and mutual brotherhood.

Dr Jitendra apprised the Governor that he met various sections of the society in Jammu including college students and appealed to them to maintain peace and harmony in the region.

Div Com establishes helpline

Srinagar, Feb 16: The office of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Saturday issued an official communiqué informing that a helpline has been established in the office in view of the concerns ventilated by certain quarters, especially those students residing and studying outside the state and to overcome the same.
According to the communiqué, the helpline numbers are Additional Commissioner, Kashmir 9906578433, 0194-2478663, Assistant Commissioner (Central) 9419484646, 0194-2473135/2483718, Principal Pvt. Secretary to Divisional Commissioner 9419094535, 0194-2455357/2452643.
The helpline has also been established in respective district headquarters of Kashmir Division.

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Traders calls for valley-wide bandh today

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Feb 16: While threatening to boycott trade with Jammu, trade bodies in Kashmir on Saturday called for a shutdown on Sunday against the incidents of miscreants attacking Kashmiris in the winter capital.

Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCC&I) and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Association (KTMF) held a joint protest at Press Enclave.

Addressing media persons, president, KCC&I Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad urged the government to bring the situation to normal.“The atrocities on innocent people in Jammu should stop. We should not be forced to boycott trade with Jammu,” he said.

 

The trade bodies also observed a shutdown after 3 pm in city centre Lal Chowk and adjoining areas to protests attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and outside the state.

Pertinently, curfew continued to remain in place in Jammu where dozens of vehicles belonging to Kashmiris were torch by a mob since Friday in reaction to the bombing attack on Thursday which killed 49 CRPF troopers on the highway near Lethpora.

“We would not tolerate the ill treatment meted to our elders, students and others. Kashmiris have always strengthened the pillars of communal harmony,” said president KTMF, Mohammad Sadiq Baqal.

J&K High Court Bar Association Srinagar too held a protest march at Saddar Court here, condemning the attacks on Kashmiris.

The Bar Association appealed to the International Community including the United Nations, Amnesty International, Asia Watch, other human rights organizations of the world and members of Indian Civil Society to come to the rescue of the people of Kashmir.

They appealed them to save Kashmiris from the brutalities being inflicted on them by the “ruthless communal and fanatic forces of Jammu and other places of India.”

In order to show solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren, the Bar Association also decided to support the Kashmir Bandh call issued by Kashmir Traders Federation for 17 February.

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