Three civilians including a 7th class girl student were killed and five others injured in army firing during Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in Hawoora area of Redwani in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Saturday.
As per local sources, as army men arrived in Hawoora area of Redwani in Kulgam to conduct searches, people present there pelted stones on them to disrupt the operation.
The army men in retaliation fired on the mob, injuring at least eight persons.
The injured were evacuated to a nearby PHC Frisal, where doctors declared three of them as brought dead.
“We received about eight injured, who had bullet and other firearm injuries. Out of the eight, three had bullet wounds in chest, abdomen and shoulder and they were dead on arrival due to excessive loss of blood,” said a medico at PHC Frisal.
The deceased were identified as 13-year-old Andleeb Jan daughter of Ali Mohammad, Shakir Ahmad (22) son of Mohammad Hussain Khanday and Irshad Majid (20) son of Abdul Majeed.
Andleeb was class 7th student.
Tension gripped the area after killing of three civilians and authorities instantly blocked mobile internet services in entire south Kashmir. Later, the mobile internet services was also suspended in central Kashmir including Srinagar.
Meanwhile, thousands of people amid sobs and shrieks attended the funeral prayers of the deceased in premises of Government High School Hawoora.
The girl was studying in the same school, where her funeral prayer was offered.
Over ten back to back funerals were offered for the deceased and at least two militant groups appeared during the gathering and gave gun salute as a tribute to the slain civilians.
The bodies of the deceased were laid to rest in the local graveyard amidst chanting of pro-Pakistan, pro-militants, anti-India and anti-army slogans.
The locals said first group of militants appeared during the funeral prayers and fired several rounds in air.
They said another group of four militants appeared at the graveyard and again gave the gun salute near the graves of slain civilians.
A police spokesman denied that any anti militancy operation was started by troops in the area.
“Some miscreants today pelted stones on an army patrol while it was moving through Hawoora Mishipora area in the afternoon. Consequently, army tried to disperse them and in the process five individuals sustained injuries. The injured persons were evacuated to nearby hospital. However, later three persons succumbed to the injuries, including a girl. We have started investigation into the matter,” he said.
Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said an Area Domination Patrol (ADP) of army while moving in Hawoora area came under heavy stone pelting.
“As the ADP tried to extricate, they were chased by an aggressive crowd of 400-500 persons, which kept building up and coming dangerously close. Troops while exercising extreme restraint, cautioned the stone pelters. However, they failed to relent and repeatedly threw petrol bombs and stones at the patrol party. At one point of time some unidentified militants also fired on the column. It resulted in some army men receiving grievous injuries,” he said.
The defence spokesman said in response to the provocation and to ensure security of own troops, controlled firing was resorted to by the Army which resulted in unfortunate loss of human lives.
“The matter is being investigated to ascertain facts on ground,” he said.
Defence sources said army is grieved over loss of civilian lives.