SRINAGAR: A teenager was shot dead and two girls suffered critical injuries after clashes broke near the site of an ongoing encounter in Shopian district where a group of militants are trapped in a cordon by security forces.

Witnesses and police sources said violent clashes erupted in Chaigund village of south Kashmir today evening after security forces laid a cordon around a residential house where a group of militants were hiding. Amid massive anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, villagers came out and tried to break the cordon.

“As soon as the news of the encounter spread, locals came out of their homes and started pelting stones at the forces, who retaliated by resorting to teargas shelling and pellet firing. When the protesters didn’t relent, they fired indiscriminately towards them,” sources said.

Police sources said at least six officials from the J&K Police and other forces were injured due to “heavy stone pelting” by locals who wanted to divert the attention of the forces and help the militants in escaping.

Two protesters were brought to a local hospital in South Kashmir from the site of clashes with pellet and bullet injuries. Of them, Shakir Mir,17, succumbed at the hospital, “He had a bullet injury in his chest. We could not save him,” a doctor who treated the teenage victim, said.

The occupation of the deceased, who is believed to be a resident of Qalampora village of Shopian, was not immediately confirmed. “An anti-militancy operation was going on in the area. We are confirming details. That’s all I can tell you for now,” Munir Khan, IGP, Kashmir, told The Citizen.

Large crowds of mourners are gathering at the residence of the teenage boy and preparations are underway for his funeral, witnesses said. A spontaneous shutdown is being observed in the area against the killing.

Meanwhile, in the ongoing clashes, two girls, Sumi Jan and Sabreena, were hit by bullets. Hospital sources said they were brought to District Hospital Pulwama from where they were referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment. Both are residents of Oodu village of Shopian.

Situation is tense in the area with security forces tightening the cordon around the house where a group of militants are trapped. Protests and stone pelting was going on in the area when this report was filed.

The issue of “unabated civilian killings” resonated in the state legislature which is in its budget session, with the opposition again cornering the PDP-BJP government on the issue today evening.

Senior National Conference leader Ali Mohammed Sagar raised the issue in the assembly, blaming the state government for civilian killings, “Gooliyan chalana band karo, khuda kay liye (For God’s sake, stop this mayhem),” he said in the assembly, addressing the PDP leader and parliamentary affairs minister, Abdul Rehman Veeri. NC legislator Abdul Majeed Larmi also raised the issue in the house.