Three civilians were killed and over a dozen injured in security forces firing on protestors near an encounter site in Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Tuesday. A militant was also killed in the gunfight.
An army official said, “One militant has been killed and a weapon has been recovered from the scene of the encounter.” A police official further added, “One para trooper also sustained injuries but now the encounter has ended.”
The day-long clashes left three civilians — all young men in their 20s — dead while 18 others were injured, in security forces’ action against a large number of protestors who pelted stones on the law enforcing personnel allegedly in a vain bid to help the holed up militant flee.
An army official said, “Acting on specific information about presence of militants, police, army and paramilitary personnel laid siege around Durbugh area of Chadoora in Budgam district at around 5.30 am. We had information that one or two militants were hiding in a house in the area. However, the search operation turned into a gun battle after the militant opened firing on security forces.”
The civilians were identified as 21-year-old Zahid Rashid Bhat, Saqib Ahmad, 20, and Ishfaq Ahmad, 24 who were later succumbed to injuries sustained in firing for the CRPF(Central Reserve Police Force) and Jammu and Kashmir Police jawans. Clashes between protestors and security forces continued till the reports last came in.
The trend of civilians assembling near encounter sites and engaging security forces in clashes came into view the previous year. It has persisted even after Army Chief Bipin Rawat warned the youth against intervening in anti-militancy operations and the State administration foisting Section 144 within three kilometer radius of encounter sites.