Srinagar, May 24: Authorities imposed restrictions on movement and communication in the valley soon after Kashmir’s most wanted militant ‘commander’ Zakir Musa was trapped in a gunfight that began Thursday afternoon and ended with his killing Friday morning.
Zakir, an engineering student in Chandigarh, joined militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen in January 2013. He was a close associate of militant ‘commander’ Burhan Wani, who was killed in 2016.
The news of him being trapped and killed Thursday triggered nocturnal protests in parts of Srinagar, Pulwama, Shopian and Baramulla. The same spilled over to other districts of the valley on Friday.
Authorities had already announced closure of all educational institutions across Kashmir. Mobile internet service was snapped in the valley and the speed of fixed landline broadband connections was choked down.
While restrictions were put in place in many areas of the Valley, the rest observed a spontaneous shutdown on their own. Banihal town on the highway between Jammu and Srinagar too observed a shutdown against the militant’s killing.
Authorities also disallowed Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar for the second time in the holy month of Ramadan.
Chairman Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is also the chief cleric of the historic Mosque, condemned the barring of mandatory Friday prayers at the Mosque.
“Condemn that for the second time in Ramadan jumma prayers disallowed at Jama Masjid. Extremely sad that each day Kashmir loses its promising young in one way or other to the lingering conflict. Urge all stakeholders to come together to put an end to this daily killing and violence and bring peace to this beleaguered land by resolving the Kashmir issue,” Mirwaiz tweeted.
Heavy deployments of paramilitary troopers was made in Srinagar, south Kashmir’s Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Kulgam districts along with most townships of north Kashmir.
Zakir was killed in an encounter which broke after a joint team of the army and the SOG launched a cordon-and-search operation in Dadsara village on Thursday.
Incidents of clashes and protests were reported from several areas of Srinagar including Bemina, Natipora, Mehjoor Nagar, Abi Guzar, Padshahi Bagh, Nowgam, and Batamaloo. Similar reports came from Kupwara’s Trehgam, Sopore town, Budgam and several parts of Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam districts.
In Rahmoo, Rajpora, Kakapora, Malangpora villages of Pulwama district, “pro-freedom” Taranas were played from mosque loudspeakers.
An eyewitness in Chersoo, a village in Awantipora, said youth and government forces engaged in pitched battles as the latter fired pellets, PAVA and tear gas shells to disperse the stone-pelting youth.
“The government forces finally entered the village and damaged several cars and motorcycles on the roads and even tumbled a few of them in the nearby stream,” the witness said.
Protests also erupted in Okay, Yaripora and Shouch areas of Kulgam district, Trenz and Imam Shab areas of Shopian district.
Protests were also reported from Soaf-Shali area of Kokernag, Khanabal and Seer Hamdan.
The students of Kashmir University too assembled outside the Jamia Masjid in the campus after congregational prayers and offered funeral payers in absentia for the slain militant.
Militant, Army officer killed in Anantnag gunfight
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.
IED blast in Pulwama, 6 soldiers, 2 civilians injured
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)
Emotional scenes at slain SHO’s wreath-laying ceremony
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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