Srinagar: Security forces on Sunday killed five militants, including an assistant professor of Kashmir University who had joined their ranks, leading to major street protests that claimed another five civilian lives, officials said.
Director General of Police S.P. Vaid said the five militants died after being trapped in a house in Badigam village in Shopian district.
“Well done boys – Army/CRPF/J&K Police,” the officer tweeted.
Para commandos of the army were also deployed to help fight the holed-up militants during Sunday’s gunfight.
The security forces including Rashtriya Rifles, Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) surrounded Badigam following an alert about the presence of militants.
A soldier and a policeman were also injured in the gunfight that erupted.
The slain militants were identified as Saddam Paddar, a Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Tawseef Sheikh, Molvi Bilal, Adil Ahmad and Muhammad Rafi Bhat, the professor who according to police had joined militant ranks.
Paddar was a close associate of Burhan Wani, who was killed in July 2016 in Kokernag in Anantnag district.
Bhat, who belonged to Chunduna village in Ganderbal district, was reported missing on Friday. This led to angry protests at the Kashmir University campus on Saturday as students asked the authorities to locate him.
Once the security forces relized that he too was holed up with the militants, police took his mother, wife and brother to Badigam village to persuade him to surrender.
As the security forces took on the militants, a large number of civilians poured out of their homes to attack the security personnel with stones.
This led to more police action, leading to the death of five civilians. One of them was Adil Ahmad, who succumbed to injuries at the Kulgam district hospital.
Three other civilians, Sajad Ahmad of Anantnag district, Zubair Ahmad of Pulwama and Yasir Ahmad of Shopian, also succumbed to their injuries. Earlier, Asif Ahmad of Rohmou village of Pulwama died in a Srinagar hospital due to injuries suffered in the clashes.
Over a dozen civilians were injured in the clashes between the protesters and the security forces. A mob torched two fire tenders during the protests.
Authorities later handed over the professor’s body to his family for burial in Chunduna village in Ganderbal district.
After the professor’s death, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Sadly this is also an answer to those who claim jobs and development are the solution to the violence and alienation in Kashmir.
“This is another tragic development in a steady stream of tragedies in Kashmir.”.
Mobile Internet services in south Kashmir and in Ganderbal district have been suspended to prevent the spread of rumours.
One civilian with critical injuries has been shifted to Srinagar for treatment.
Later on Sunday, separatist leaders called a protest march and a sit-in outside the Civil Secretariat here on Monday to denounce the killings of civilians and militants in the Kashmir Valley.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a separatist conglomerate headed by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, announced the protests.
“Words fail to express the pain of the tragedy unfolding in Shopian as the count of the brutally killed by Indian forces keeps rising,” Mirwaiz Umer Farooq tweeted.
He urged everyone to move towards the Civil Secretariat and stage a peaceful ‘dharna’ “till the daily carnage is not stopped”.
The Civil Secretariat houses the offices of the Chief Minister, her cabinet colleagues and senior bureaucrats.