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Kashmir back to normal, restrictions withdrawn

Beaten’ by forces, Budgam youth critical

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Srinagar, May 26: Life returned to normal in Kashmir on Sunday after two days of restrictions and shutdown in the wake of the killing of Zakir Musa — the head of Ansar Ghazwatul Hind — in an encounter with government forces earlier this week in Pulwama district, officials said. They said there were no restrictions in place in any part of the valley on Sunday.

“Normalcy returned to the valley as there was no strike on Sunday and no restrictions were imposed anywhere,” an official said.

He added that shops, fuel stations and other business establishments re-opened Sunday morning while public transport also operated normally.

 

The weekly flea market on the TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis through the Lal Chowk city centre was also open.

Zakir was killed in an encounter with government forces at Dadsara village of Tral in the south Kashmir’s Pulwama district Friday after forces launched a search operation on late Thursday evening following specific information about the presence of militants there.

Fearing law and order problems, authorities had imposed curfew in parts of Kashmir Valley as a precautionary measure on Friday.

The curfew continued on Saturday in view of a strike called by the Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani against the killing of Musa and a civilian, Zahoor Ahmad, a resident of Naira Pulwama – by unidentified gunmen on Thursday.

Mobile internet was also suspended on Thursday night across the valley, but the low-speed service was restored in most parts on Saturday evening following improvement in the situation.        

The high-speed mobile internet service continued to remain barred.

‘Beaten’ by forces, Budgam youth critical

Srinagar, May 26: The residents of Soibugh village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district Sunday held a protest against the arrests and alleged beating of youth by the army on Friday following the killing of militant commander Zakir Musa.

Reports said that the soldiers of army camp at adjoining Daharmuna village detained seven youth on Friday after the youth pelted them with stones following the reports of killing of Musa.

Quoting locals, news gathering agency GNS said the residents staged a protest against the arrest of seven teenage boys, two of them let off in injured condition by the army.

One of the injured has been referred from SMHS to SKIMS Soura and his condition is stated to be critical.

The protesters said that when they urged army to release the minor boys they were told that they have been handed over to Police.

“We requested army to release these young boys but instead they kept them captive. Last night two of them, Fazil Fayaz Malik (14) son of Fayaz Ahmad Malik of Hatharan Soibugh and Hamidullah Sheikh son of Gulzar Ahmad Sheikh of Dharmuna were handed over to the respective families in critical condition,” the report said while quoting a protester.

Both of them were shifted to nearby hospital from where Fazil was shifted to SMHS while Hamidullah was referred to JVC Bemina.

Owing to critical injuries in head, Fazil was later referred to SKIMS Soura for advanced treatment.

“The doctors told us that there is coagulation of blood in his head and he was immediately operated upon. They said that next 72 hours are crucial for Fazil,” Fazil’s relatives, who were part of the protest, said.

Medical Superintendent, SKIMS Dr Farooq Jan said the condition of the boy was very critical.

“He is very critical. Basically he had head injury and contusion in brain which has been evacuated. Presently he is on ventilator but on double support,” Dr Jan said.

However, when contacted concerned Station House Officer (SHO) Mohd Rafiq Shah said that army handed over three boys to the police who are very much with them.

Asked about allegations by the locals that two boys were beaten to pulp by the army before being handed over to their respective families, the officer said that “details in this regard are being ascertained”.

Army’s Srinagar based spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia told GNS that he will look into the incident. “Since you have brought the incident into my notice I will see to it,” the spokesman said. (GNS)


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Militant, Army officer killed in Anantnag gunfight

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Srinagar, Jun 17: An Army officer and a militant were killed and three other soldiers including a Major injured in a gunfight in south Kashmir Anantnag district on Monday, police said.

Police sources said the officer was shot at during the firing exchange between the holed-up militants and security forces in Bidoora village in Achabal area of the district.

The slain militant was believed to be a foreigner.

 

SSP Anantnag, Altaf Khan said that the operation was launched following specific inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.

He said that as the joint team intensified the searches, the militants, hiding in the area, opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight.

Initially, sources said, the joint team of forces and militants exchanged gunfire for some time during which the house, in which the militants were hiding, was damaged. Later there was a lull for about an hour even as Army rushed more reinforcements and the joint team started searches to find out the militants.

Soon the militants rose from the debris and opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in the on-spot death of Major Keetan Sharma and injuries to three others including another Army Major Rahul Verma, sources said.

They added the joint team of forces retailed the fire, leading to the fresh gunfight in an open field. While one militant was killed and the search operation is underway to find if there is any more militant hiding in the area.

The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is being ascertained, sources said.

Meanwhile, youth took to streets and pelted stones at the security forces. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.

In wake of the operation, the authorities snapped internet service in the southern district.

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IED blast in Pulwama, 6 soldiers, 2 civilians injured

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Srinagar, Jun 17: Militants on Monday attempted to blow off an Army vehicle in a village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

A police official said that an armoured vehicle of Army came under an IED attack in Hargam Arihal village of Pulwama. He added that after the blast militants also fired some gunshots towards the vehicle.

Local residents informed that they heard huge blast followed by gunshots.

 

Reports said that six soldiers and two civilians were injured in the blast. The soldiers were shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital at Badamibagh, Srinagar for treatment.

The area was soon cordoned off, officials said.

Earlier, reports said that militants exploded an IED under a Casper vehicle, extensively damaging it, as an army convoy passed through Arihal. However, the army clarified that the damaged vehicle was not a Casper, but an Ashok Leyland Stallion truck.

Three of them who were travelling in the cabin of the vehicle are stated to be serious, the news agency reported.

The blast was triggered by militants using a car laden with explosives, GNS reported attributing the same to “initial investigations by police.”

“A police officer that the explosives were fitted inside a car and investigators are probing the owner of the vehicle. Asked, which type of vehicle was used, the officer said that it is a matter of investigation,” the news agency reported.

“Samples have been collected and further probe is underway,” the officer was quoted saying.

In a statement, the Army called the attack a “failed attempt” by militants. The troops are safe, barring a few minor injuries, it said, adding, “The area has been cordoned and search operations are in progress”.

The blast comes days after Pakistan had reportedly shared information with India and America regarding the possibility of major militant attack in the south Kashmir district. (With inputs from GNS)

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Emotional scenes at slain SHO’s wreath-laying ceremony

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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SSP Srinagar, Dr Haseeb Mughal holding in his lap the son of slain SHO Arshid Khan during the wreath laying ceremony at DPL, Srinagar on Monday – Photo: Umar Ganie

Srinagar, Jun 17: Emotional scenes were Monday witnessed at District Police Lines (DPL) Srinagar as top cops and bureaucrats attended the wreath-laying ceremony of the slain police officer Arshad Khan, who had sustained critical injuries in a militant attack in Anantnag last week and later succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS, Delhi on Sunday.

J&K Police chief Dilbagh Singh, Advisors to Governor K Vijay Kumar and KK Sharma, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmed Khan, ADGP Muneer Khan, and SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal, among other civil and police officers were present on the occasion.

J&K Police shared two heart wrenching photos of Dr Mughal carrying the deceased’s son in his arms during the wreath-laying ceremony.

 

In the photos, a teary-eyed Haseeb is seen carrying slain Arshad Khan’s son while paying tributes to his colleague.

On the occasion, Advisor Kumar said that more than 1600 J&K Police personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty.

On June 12, around 4:50 pm, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including Arshad sustained injuries after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at bus stand Anantnag.

Arshad was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital and then to Srinagar’ SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. After being treated there for a few days, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.

According to police, Arshad was inducted into police services in the year 2002 and was presently posted as SHO Anantnag. Khan is survived by father and mother, wife Neelofar, 5-year-old son Abuhan Khan, Danim 2, and a brother.

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