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SUNDAY’S KILLINGS: Kashmir locks down in protest

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Srinagar, May 07: A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir Valley on Monday against the civilian and militant killings that took place in Srinagar and Shopian during the weekend.
After three militants and civilian were killed in Srinagar on Saturday, Sunday proved even bloodier as 10 people including five militants and five civilians were killed in an encounter in Shopian and clashes in several parts of south Kashmir.
Joint Hurriyat comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, on Sunday, had extended the strike till Monday and asked the people to march to the Civil Secretariat here, which opened as part of the durbar move.
Authorities, however, imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar to thwart the Hurriyat call for protests and dharna against the killings.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was detained soon after he tried to carry out the proposed march towards the Civil Secretariat.
Talking to media outside his Nigeen residence before being detained, Mirwaiz said, “Kashmir is witnessing the height of repression as all limits of atrocities have been crossed. People are craving for justice but all doors of justice stand closed to us. Kashmiris especially our youth who are our future are being targeted in fact they are being hounded by the government forces who armed with unbridled powers like AFSPA, DAA bear no accountability for killing them.”
“Since Indian forces launched operation all out, it has been a declaration of war against people of Kashmir and south Kashmir is bearing the biggest brunt of it where almost each day youth are being brazenly killed and critically injured and there seems to be no end to it. In yesterday’s massacre at Shopian, all those killed and injured have been hit by live ammunition above waist in head throat and even eyes with the intention to kill,” he added.
Meanwhile, all business establishments and educational institutions remained shut across the Valley.
Mobile internet services remained barred in Srinagar on third consecutive day on Monday after it was snapped following Chattabal gunfight in the heart of city that left three militants including a Srinagar resident dead.
A complete shutdown was observed in Ganderbal, the native district of the Assistant Professor Dr Rafi, who was one among the five militants killed in Shopian on Sunday.
Large number of people thronged his house and expressed sympathies with bereaved family. Locals alleged that police arrested five youth, all residents of Kangan when they were returning home after offering funeral prayers of the slain militant Rafi Ahmed.
Stone-pelting incidents occurred at few places in Ganderbal district.
Clashes erupt in Newa Pulwama where agitated youth pelted stones on Para-military troopers. Witnesses said that youth took to roads and pelted stones on 182 Battalion camp of CRPF. The troopers retaliated with tear-smoke shells. The clashes continued for hours.
Clashes also erupted at Kakapora Pulwama when youth stoned police station Kakapora.
Reports from South Kashmir’s Shopian said that district wore a deserted look while massive security arrangements were put in place to maintain law and order. Thousands of people participated in the last rites of two slain militants Sadam Paddar and Bilal Molvi at Heff Shermal where youth carried out a pro-freedom march.
According to reports shutdown was observed in all 10 districts of Kashmir Valley including Srinagar, Ganderbal, Budgam, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama, Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora.
Jammu’s Banihal town also observed shutdown against Kashmir killings.
Reports said that a complete shutdown was observed in Banihal town of Jammu’s Ramban district over ‘killing spree’ in Kashmir Valley.
Reports added all the shops, other business establishment and schools remain closed in solidarity with the people of Valley.


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Hajin gunfight ends, 12-year old killed by militants:Police

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Two militants, one of them a top commander of Lashker-e-Taiba, and a 12 minor boy were killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Hajin area of Bandipora district on Friday.
Reports said a joint team of Army’s 13RR, CRPF and SOG launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) at Mir Mohalla of Hajin on Thursday afternoon.
It soon turned into a gunfight which ended Friday morning with the death of two militants.
A 12-year-old boy, Atif Mir, who, the government forces claimed, was made “hostage” by the militants was also killed during the encounter.
Addressing a joint press conference called by army, police, and CRPF, SSP Bandipora, Rahul Malik said they had inputs about presence of militants in the Hajin area for some time and launched several cordon and search operations.
He said this was the third CASO in which a “chance encounter” ensued. He claimed the police rescued the six civilians in the first two hours of gunfight.
“After that we came to know that two more civilians were trapped inside who were taken hostage by the two militants. Among the measures we took was to make announcements through megaphones, we also used local Auqaf committees, and family for releasing of hostages,” the SSP said.
The SSP said that police also involved a team specialized in room to room intervention.
“By the time they reached the third floor, fire came out. We also tried to send the mother, who went inside to make appeals but again militants opened fire at them. In this situation, we were able to rescue one hostage: the old uncle of the trapped boy,” Rahul said.
The SSP claimed they also called the Magistrate at the spot who appealed that the boy should be released.
There are also few videos apparently recorded by government forces in which old parents of the minor are seen pleading before the trapped militants, asking them to release their son.
“Unfortunately, those efforts didn’t materialize. When the firing from the other end intensified, we also retaliated. In this process, two militants with pseudonyms, Ali and Hubaib got killed. In this process, we received information from the rescued civilian. He told us that the minor boy was being held hostage by Ali. The militant didn’t allow the boy to go out, and killed him before our team stormed the building,” he claimed.
Reports said the house belonging to one Abdul Hamid Mir was razed to rubble during the gunfight and all the three bodied were completely charred. Police and army also recovered two Ak-47 rifles.
The government forces, the SSP said, tried to adopt various methods to rescue the boy. The SSP claimed that one of the militants Ali wanted to marry a girl from the family whose members were held hostage.
“The family members of the girl had sent her to some other place. Ali demanded that girl should be brought back and then only he would allow the hostages to go out. This is what had been transpiring in their house. By the time we received the input, the cordon and encounter had already started,” he said.
The police said both the slain were foreign militants and affiliated with LeT.
“Ali has been involved in many civilian killings. He had a trademark of keeping a long knife which we have also recovered. Besides, foreign militants don’t operate from one area. They keep on moving from one district to another. For the last five to six months, their presence has increased in this area. They keep on changing their name, identity and area of operation,” he said.
He claimed that Ali had been operating for the last two years. “We can’t say how many foreign militants are active presently but whosoever is there we are behind them,” he added.
SOPORE RESIDENT AMONG TWO MILITANTS SLAIN IN BARAMULLA: Thousands of people on Friday attended the funeral prayers of Aamir Rasool Kaboo who was among two militants slain in a gunfight with the government forces in Kalantra Kandi Kreeri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla Thursday night.
Witnesses said that thousands of people assembled at Aamir’s home at Arampora Friday morning to take part in his last rites. Amir’s body was handed over to the family shortly before midnight.
The mourners raised pro-freedom slogans as they marched with his body to the martyrs’ graveyard where he was laid to rest.
Amir and his associate, believed to be a non-local, were killed in a gunfight with the forces in Kalantra on Thursday. Three soldiers, including an officer, were wounded in the firefight.
A complete shutdown was also observed across the Sopore town and its adjacent areas.

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Two JeM militants killed in Shopian gunfight it

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Two Jaish militants, including a former SPO who had joined the outfit in 2018, were killed in an encounter in Ratnipora area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday.
Reports said that a joint team of army’s 34 RR, SOG and CRPF laid a cordon and search operation in Ratnipora village late last night.
Quoting a police officer, news agency GNS said that the CASO was launched following inputs about the presence of some militants.
“The joint team in the meantime fired some warning shots towards the suspected spot which was responded by militants and it was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight”.
“During the course of gunfight, two militants have been killed and their bodies along with two weapons were recovered from the site late this afternoon,” the officer said, adding that both the slain militants were affiliated with JeM outfit.
SSP Shopian Sandeep Choudhary identified the slain militants as Showkat Ahmad of Heramain and Yasir Ahmad Shah of Aarhama.
The SSP added that Showkat was an SPO-turned-militant and had joined the militant outfit last year.
Meanwhile, massive protest erupted near encounter site and its adjoining villages including Gadapora as protesters tried to march closer to the gunfight spot. The forces used pellets and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth. The stone pelting clashes amid a shutdown was also received from neighbouring Pulwama district
At least fifteen youth were injured in the clashes near encounter site. Among the fifteen injured, ten of them were taken to district hospital Shopian for treatment. A policeman namely Tariq Ahmad also sustained serious head injuries after being hit by a stone during clashes in adjoining Ratnipora village of the district, the official sources said.
A doctor who operated upon them said that five youth suffered pellet injuries in their eyes while one of them had been shot in the neck.
“All the ten injured were later referred to different hospitals in Srinagar for advanced treatment,” he said.
Meanwhile, in wake of the gunfight, the internet services were suspended in Shopian for precautionary measures. (With inputs from GNS)

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Centre bans JKLF under ‘anti-terror’ law

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New Delhi, Mar 22: The Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was banned by the Centre under ‘anti-terror’ law on Friday, officials said.
The outfit has been banned for alleged promotion of secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.
They said the organisation has been banned under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Its chief Yasin Malik is under arrest and at present lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.
This is the second organisation in Jammu and Kashmir which has been banned this month. Earlier, the Centre had banned the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to banning of JKLF, PDP president and former J&K CM, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Yasin Malik renounced violence as a way of resolving J&K issue a long time ago. He was treated as a stakeholder in a dialogue initiated by then PM Vajpayee ji. What will a ban on his organisation achieve? Detrimental steps like these will only turn Kashmir into an open air prison.”
National Conference Vice President and another former CM of the state, Omar Abdullah, too expressed his thoughts over the decision.
“For 4 1/2 years (four and a half years) Yasin Malik isn’t a threat, Jamaat Islami isn’t a threat, Pakistan National Day is a function that must be attended. Now suddenly once an election is announced an immediate u-turn is executed,” he wrote on Twitter.

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