At least seven civilians, including an MBA graduate, were killed while another was critically injured in firing by security forces in south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Saturday following an encounter with terrorists. The situation turned tense after the killing of protesting locals and internet services in the area were suspended. The incident took place after locals took to streets to protest against the encounter between terrorists and security forces. The protests turned violent and prompted security personnel to open fire on agitators.
Eyewitnesses said that the civilians who were killed were shot in the head and chest and some other people also received pellet gun injuries during the post-encounter clashes. Five of the deceased have been identified as Shahbaz Ali, Suhail Ahmad, Liyaqat Ahmad, Amir Ahmad, Abid Hussain.
Abid Hussain, an MBA graduate, had returned to the Valley a few months ago with his wife and three-month-old child. Reacting to the killings of civilians, National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah termed the day “blood-soaked” and “horrible”.
“Another blood-soaked weekend in Kashmir. 6 protestors killed, 1 soldier killed in the line of duty. Together with the 3 militants from this morning’s encounter that’s 10 dead. Reports of many injured at the encounter site. What a horrible day!” Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
Early in the morning, the security forces and Kashmir police had launched a joint anti-militancy operation in Sirnoo village near Pulwama district headquarter following intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists in the area.
The security forces surrounded the area and as they were closing in, the terrorists opened fire which was retaliated in a similar manner by the soldiers. At least three terrorists and a security personnel were killed during in the firing.