Seven civilians were killed and three dozen others injured in trigger-happy force personnel’s firing on protestors near encounter site at Sirnoo village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday. Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants including an army deserter and an army man were killed in the gunfight.
A police official said a joint forces comprising 55 Rashtriya Rifles, 182 and 183 Bn of CRPF and Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K police laid siege around Sirnoo village at around 4 am.
He said as the search parties approached a spot in village orchards between Sirnoo and Monghama, they came under fire from militants hiding there.
In the ensuing encounter, three Hizb militants including a top commander were killed.
The police official said two army men were also injured in the gunfight.
“One of them identified as Sepoy Kishan Singh of 55 RR later succumbed to injuries in the hospital,” he said.
The deceased militants were identified as Zahoor Ahmad Thoker, an army deserter who had deserted army in 2017 to join militancy, Adnan Ahmad alias Tahir of Karimabad village and Bilal Ahmad alias Hashim from Rajpora Pulwama.
Immediately after the encounter started at around 5.30 am, the youth took to roads and attempted to march towards the encounter site.
After being intercepted by the force personnel, the youth pelted stones on them.
The force personnel fired live ammunition including bullets, pellets and tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors.
At least 40 people sustained injuries in the forces firing and were referred to nearby District Hospital, Pulwama.
A doctor at District Hospital Pulwama told Rising Kashmir that 32 injured were brought to the hospital.
He said six critically injured succumbed to injuries in the hospital while 13 others injured were referred to SMHS hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment.
“Another critically injured succumbed to injuries at SMHS hospital,” the doctor said.
Of the 12 injured admitted in SMHS hospital, three are having bullet injuries.
The deceased civilians were identified as Mohammad Amir Pala, 20 son of Mohammad Yousuf Pala of Ashminder village; Abid Hussain Lone 28, son of late Ghulam Nabi Lone of Karimabad village; Owais Yousuf Najar, 18, son of Mohammad Yousuf Najar of Monghama; Liqayat Majeed Dar, 17 son of Abdul Majeed Dar of Parigama village; Suhail Rashid, 16, son of Abdul Rashid Dar of Bellov village; Murtaza Bashir, 14, son of Bashir Ahmad resident of Prichoo and Tawseef Ahmad Mir, 27, son of Mohammad Ahsan Mir of Urichersoo village.
Abid Hussain Lone had done MBA from University of Indonesia and married to an Indonesian woman. He had returned to his native place with his Indonesian wife and three-month old infant.
Mohammad Amir Pala was a class 10th dropout and presently working as a salesman in Pollution Checking Centre, Prichoo. He was a faster bowler and biker.
Owais Yousuf Najar, was a 12th class student at Government Higher Secondary School, Pulwama. He was also working as a mechanic to support his poor family. His father is a carpenter by profession.
Liqayat Majeed Dar was an 11th class student at Government Higher Secondary Schoola, Newa. His father is a milkman.
Suhail Rashid was 10th class student at Noorul-Islam High School Bellow. He was lone son of his parents. He is survived by two sisters and parents.
Murtaza Bashir was a class 7th student.
Tawseef Ahmad Mir was a casual employee of Power Development Department (PDD). He was lone son of his parents. He is survived by wife, 3-yr-old daughter, one-year-old son, five sisters and parents.
A police spokesperson said when the encounter was in progress, a crowd came dangerously close to the gunfight site from all sides and got injured in retaliatory firing.
He termed the killing of civilians as unfortunate and regretted the loss.
“The loss of civilians is deeply grieved,” the spokesman said and appealed people to stay away from encounter sites during encounters.
He said bodies of deceased militants were handed over to legal heirs after completion of medico-legal formalities.
After the killing of civilians, authorities suspended mobile internet services in south Kashmir and Srinagar.