Youth Shot Dead By Forces, Kulgam Shuts Down In Protest
Grieving family. (Courtesy: Rising Kashmir)
SRINAGAR: A civilian was killed Monday while another sustained injuries when forces opened fire at a demonstration in Redwani village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district where two militants were killed in an encounter.
The Jammu and Kashmir government ordered an inquiry into the incident which sparked widespread condemnation from the All Parties Hurriyat Conference that called for a shutdown in the district. The National Conference also flayed the government.
The incident took place when a large crowd of locals returned to the site of a gun-battle between two militants, one of them a local of Redwani village, and forces on Monday morning.
The locals had clashed with forces on Sunday evening as well when a cordon was laid around the residential house where the militants were holed up.
Eyewitnesses said forces went on a rampage in the village, attacking shops and residential houses which triggered protests. The protesters tried to break the cordon around the residential house by reportedly pelting stones at the forces.
However, the forces chased them away with baton charge, tear gas shelling and live fire, sparking clashes during which two civilians were shot. They were taken to a nearby hospital and shifted to SMHS hospital where one of them was declared brought dead.
The deceased was identified as Asif Ahmad Tantray, a resident of Redwani Balla, the lone brother to four sisters. “He used to work at a private cellular outlet and his family was totally dependent on him. Three among four sisters are unmarried,” a relative of the slain youth said.
The family claimed that he was not part of the protest, "He had come out to look for his mother who had gone to fetch milk,” Sanaullah Tantray, father of the slain youth said.
Deputy Commissioner of Kulgam has appointed Muhammad Ahsan Mir as Enquiry Officer. “The inquiry will be completed within one month,” the DC said.
A complete shutdown is being observed in the district against the killing.
Meanwhile, a 16-hour gun battle in Kulgam culminated Monday morning with the killing of two militants, sparking anti-India protests in the district. Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani paid tributes to the slain while the moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that the "legitimate struggle of Kashmiris can't be suppressed by the use of military might."
Acting on a tip-off, a joint team of forces and paramilitary troopers cordoned off Redwani village on Sunday at around 8 pm and started searches during which they came under a barrage of gunfire, sparking the encounter.
Both sides fired intermittently at each other during the night and the operation was suspended later. It resumed on Monday morning during which the forces used mortars to blast the house in order to kill the militants who were giving a tough fight.
The slain have been identified as Javid Ahmad Bhat alias Abu Jaffar, son of Abdul Rehman, a resident of Redwani, and Idrees Ahmad Negroo, son of Ghulam Hassan of Badroo, Yaripora.
Their bodies were recovered from the debris along with an AK47 and an SLR rifle. Police said they were affiliated with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit.
Two Army personnel were also injured in the encounter.
One of the slain militant, Javid, is believed to have joined militant ranks last year. Police said he has also been booked on multiple occasions on charges of stone pelting. Idrees, a new recruit, was involved in the killing of a policeman in Shopian on May 29 during which he had also decamped with slain’s service rifle.