Three militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir Sunday, police said, adding three civilians also lost their lives in a blast after the gunfight ended.
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"Civilians visited the encounter site immediately after the operation in spite of (our) request not to go there as a thorough search is to be made for explosives once flames douse. They did not listen and visited the spot immediately after the forces withdrew”, police said.
"Some explosive substance went off, resulting in injuries to civilians. One civilian namely Ubaid Laway, a resident of Laroo, died on the spot," the police official said.
Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Laroo area of Kulgam district in south Kashmir following specific information about the presence of militants in the area, he said.
As the forces were conducting the searches, the ultras fired upon them, triggering the encounter, the official said.
Police identified the three militants killed as locals. A police officer said that the slain militants are locals and identified the trio as Zubair Lone son of Farooq Ahmad resident of Awhatoo Kulgam (JEM) active since April 26 2018, Shahdil Tantray son of Abdul Rashid resident of Sudershanpora wangam Shopian and Yazil Makro son of Mushtaq resident of Arwani Anantnag, according to reports.
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Meanwhile, clashes broke out between groups of youths and security forces in the area.
"Police had to use some force to quell the protests and around two dozen persons were injured in the clashes," the official said.
Reacting to the encounter, separatist leaders have called for complete shutdown in Kashmir tomorrow. Taking to micro blogging site Twitter, Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq condemned the attack and called for shutdown on Monday and protest sit-in on Tuesday.
Kulgam MLA and CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami expressed grief over the loss of civilian lives and demanded a probe into the incident.
"It is devastating. This needs to be investigated through an impartial probe...We are now tired of crying and demanding, but those who matter have turned a deaf ear," he said.
Advisor to the Governor, K Vijay Kumar, and DGP Dilbag Singh also expressed regret over the loss of civilian lives.
(With PTI inputs)