State vs People: Now Bandipora Burns
SRINAGAR: Violent clashes have broken out following the killing of four suspected militants in a foiled fidayeen attack in wee hours today, in north Kashmir, forcing the authorities to shut down cellular network in the area.
Witnesses said hundreds of people in Sumbal area of Bandipora district took out pro-freedom and anti-India demonstrations against the killing of militants who tried to storm a CRPF camp in a pre-dawn raid today.
Police sources said militants attacked CRPF's 45 battalion camp in Irrigation colony area of Sumbal at around 4:30 am, just when people were preparing for another day of fasting in this holy month of Ramzan.
“It was a fidayeen attack. The militants tried to storm the camp. However, the army, CRPF and police retaliated the fire, triggering a brief gunfight during which four foreign militants were killed. Their identity has not been ascertained so far,” a police officer said.
DGP of J&K Police, SP Vaid tweeted a picture of the four AK-47 rifles and other ammunition which he said were recovered from the slain militants. Police has started investigations into the incident.
Meanwhile, as soon as news of the encounter spread, hundreds of locals came out of their home and clashed with government forces. Witnesses said youth took to streets and pelted stones on Sumbal Police Station to protest the militant killings.
"The police personnel responded by firing tear smoke shells. Additional reinforcements have been sent to the area to prevent the situation from going out of control," the officer said.
A complete shutdown is being observed in Sumbal against the killings. Residents said cellular network including mobile internet has also been suspended in Sumbal. Only State-run BSNL phones are working.
Meanwhile, authorities detained JKLF chief Yasin Malik while moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest ahead of the meeting at Syed Ali Geelani's residence to discuss the NIA raids on businessmen and separatists in the Valley.
The meeting is underway at the Srinagar residence of Geelani and the Hurriyat leadership is expected to either address a press conference or issue a statement after the meeting is concluded.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR)