Army commando killed in Kashmir gunfight, civilian in clash

Kashmir Army commando killed

Srinagar, July 11 (IANS) An Indian Army commando was killed and another injured in a gunfight with militants in a forested area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Wednesday, while a civilian there was killed when security forces opened fire in a clash with protesters, officials said.

Army officials said Sepoy Mukul Meena of 3 Para Regiment was killed in the battle that was still raging till late in the evening in Sadu Ganga forest area of the north Kashmir mountainous district.

The operation was launched in the forest area on Tuesday following information about a group of militants hiding there.

Meanwhile, the civilian, identified as Khalid Gaffar, was killed in clashes between protesters and an army patrol in Kupwara’s Trehgam town on Wednesday evening, police sources said.

“Some protesters hurled stones at an army patrol party while it was passing through Trehgam town. The patrol opened fire at the protesters resulting in death of the civilian,” a source said.

Tension has gripped the entire area while senior civil and police officials have reached the spot to ensure things remain under control.

In a separate incident, a six-year-old boy was killed and four others injured on Wednesday in an accidental explosion in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, police said.

The blast occurred when a group of boys was fiddling with some explosives in Memander village.

Saliq succumbed to his injuries in the hospital while four others were being treated. Police said the exact cause of th explosion was being ascertained.

Meanwhile, life across the Kashmir Valley was adversely affected by a separatist called protest shutdown against the “continuing killings of civilians by the Indian security forces”.

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Separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were placed under house arrest while Yasin Malik, the chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), continued to remain in preventive detention in Srinagar.

The shutdown was called after two militants and two civilians were killed and over 20 protesters injured during a gunfight in Shopian on Tuesday.

A man died of shock after being misinformed that his son, Zeenat, who recently joined militant ranks, was trapped at the gunbattle site.

While Muhammad Ishaq Naikoo died of cardiac arrest, a youth, Tamsheel Ahmad Khan, died at a hospital after receiving bullet injury during clashes with the security forces.

The militants killed were identified as Sameer Ahmad Sheikh from Shopian and a Pakistani national, Babar — both belonging to the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) outfit.

Shops, other businesses, public transport and educational institutions remained closed in Srinagar and other district headquarters of the valley on Wednesday even though private transport and some three wheelers were seen moving on uptown and city outskirts here.

The separatist shutdown call did not, however, affect the passage of Amarnath pilgrims to the two base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam.

Neither did anybody try to prevent the movement of tourists elsewhere in the valley.

Authorities made heavy deployments of police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the old city areas here and other sensitive places without imposing any restrictions on civilian movement.

Train services between Baramulla town of the valley and Banihal town in Jammu region were suspended as a precautionary measure.

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Mobile Internet services also remained suspended in most parts of south Kashmir.

No major incident of violence was reported from anywhere till last reports came in, police said.