Crowds chanting pro-freedom slogans clashed with police and CRPF at several locations across Srinagar including near the encounter site.
Srinagar: Normalcy was affected in parts of Srinagar after three militants and a civilian were killed in an encounter and subsequent street clashes in Chattabal, a congested area of Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital, on Saturday.
Inspector General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Ravi Deep Sahi, announced that all the three militants trapped inside a private house in Gasi Mohalla of Chattabal have been killed in the fire fight with security forces. He added that their identity was being ascertained.
J&K’s Director General of Police, Shesh Paul Vaid, confirmed it in a tweet. He wrote on micro-blogging site, “Encounter concluded in Chattabal Srinagar. Three bodies of terrorists recovered in a clean operation by J&K Police & CRPF. Well done boys.”
Earlier reports had said that one of the two militants holed up inside the house has been gunned down during a fire fight raging in Gasi Mohalla. “The body of the slain terrorist has been spotted but not retrieved yet as an exchange of gun fire with his accomplice is still underway,” said a police officer.
Earlier reports had said that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) district commander for Srinagar Merajuddin Bangroo is among the two gunmen trapped inside a private house in the locality.
The security forces had laid siege to the area around dawn following inputs about the presence of the LeT commander and his close associate. The search operation soon turned into an encounter after the militants hiding in the house fired upon the search party of the security forces including J&K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Srinagar’s SSP Imtiyaz Ismail Parray said, “As the security forces tightened the cordon and search and zeroed in on the house where militants were hiding they (militants) fired at them triggering encounter in which as assistant commandant of the CRPF was injured.”
Soon surging crowds chanting pro-freedom slogans clashed with police and CRPF at several locations across Srinagar including near the encounter site. A protester identified as Aadil Ahmed Yaddo was critically injured when a security forces’ vehicle ran over him in Safa Kadal area in close vicinity of Chattabal, the witnesses said.
He was rushed to nearby Sri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) where he succumbed to his injuries. A huge crowd which had assembled outside the hospital tried to take the corpse of the youth along but the police immediately swung into action, fired teargas canisters into the crowd and seized the body, the witnesses said. CRPF spokesman Rajesh Yadav said the vehicle which hit the youth did not belong to it.
The J&K police tweeted, “One person identified as Aadil Ahmad Yaddo was brought to SMHS hospital whom doctors declared brought dead. Medical bulletin suggests that the person died due to a crush injury in a road traffic accident at Noorbagh. Citizens may not pay heed to rumours.”
A video clip placed on social media shows the youth being hit by a security forces's vehicle during stone-pelting at Noorbagh. Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also added the clip to a tweet in which he said "How a murder was committed by the forces today and then brazenly denied! Is there no sense of humanity left in India?"
— Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (@MirwaizKashmir) May 5, 2018
After the video went viral on social media, the police issued another statement which read: “Apropos the incident that took place at Noorbagh this morning in which one person namely Aadil Ahmad Yaddu died in a road traffic accident. In this regard a case has been registered at Police Station Safakadal under relevant sections of law and proceedings have been initiated against the police vehicle/ driver which was involved in the accident”.
As the word about the death of the civilian spread, several other parts of the City also erupted. Clashes between stone-pelting crowds and the security forces were underway, at least, at half a dozen places across the summer capital. This has led to the closure of market places whereas vehicles too have been withdrawn from roads. Many schools have been closed and students sent home as a precautionary measure. The authorities snapped high speed mobile internet services to “avoid rumour mongering”. An official said, “4G and 3G services have been suspended in Srinagar to prevent the spreading of rumours on the social media”.
The police took Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik, into preventive custody while another separatist leader and Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest on Saturday, hours ahead of their scheduled press conference in Srinagar. Malik has been lodged in City’s Kothibagh police station after the police picked him up from his residence at nearby Maisuma.
The duo along with Syed Ali Shah Geelani had, after holding a closed door meeting at Geelani’s residence on Thursday, said that they would be addressing a press conference at a City hotel on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a report from southern Pulwama said that militants shot at and critically wounded Special Police Officer (SPO) Showkat Ahmed Dar near a filling station in Rahmoo area of the district. He was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival, the police said.
Earlier gunmen had shot dead a resident and his nephew in Shahgund area of Hajin in the northern district of Bandipora. The police said that militants abducted Ghulam Hassan Dar (45) alias Hassan Rassa and his nephew Bashir Ahmad Dar (26) from their houses at Gulshan Mohalla of Hajin during the intervening night of May 4 and 5. “The terrorists barged into the house of Dar and that of his nephew and abducted both of them. At about 3.30 am today (Saturday) the terrorists shot both of them dead,” a statement issued by the police here said. It added that the bullet-riddled corpses of the victims were found by the locals near a mosque in the area’s Raheem Dar Mohalla.