Sol­dier, 7 stone-pel­ters, three ter­ror­ists killed in Pul­wama

The Sunday Guardian - - Nation - IANS

A sol­dier and three ter­ror­ists were killed in a fierce gun­bat­tle, while seven stone­pel­ters were also killed in the cross­fire when they tried to pro­tect the ter­ror­ists and pro­vide them a safe pas­sage by pelt­ing stones at the se­cu­rity forces dur­ing an en­counter in Pul­wama district early Satur­day morn­ing.

The se­cu­rity per­son­nel ap­par­ently used pel­let guns first to dis­perse the stone­pel­ters, but the sit­u­a­tion wors­ened when the lo­cals came in be­tween them and the re­treat­ing ter­ror­ists, forc­ing them to use firearms. The in­ci­dent oc­curred dur­ing a mid­night op­er­a­tion in an or­chard at Sirnoo vil­lage of South Kash­mir when the se­cu­rity forces sur­rounded the area af­ter re­ceiv­ing a tipoff about a group of ter­ror­ists holed up there.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice and hos­pi­tal sources, dozens of in­jured stone-pel­ters are be­ing treated in dif­fer­ent city hos­pi­tals, while the con­di­tion of eight of them is crit­i­cal. Doc­tors at­tend­ing on those un­der­go­ing treat­ment in SMHS and SKIMS hos­pi­tals said that many of the in­jured have re­ceived pel­let in­juries also. Protests broke out in the Val­ley as the news spread to other ar­eas.

The Joint Re­sis­tance Lead­er­ship ( JRL), an al­liance of top sep­a­ratist lead­ers of Kash­mir, has given a shut­down call for three days to mourn the deaths. Both po­lit­i­cal and sep­a­ratist lead­ers have blamed Gover­nor Satya Pal Ma­lik for the in­ci­dent.

As a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, the au­thor­i­ties have sus­pended internet ser­vices across Kash­mir and have also sus­pended Bani­hal-Bara­mulla rail ser­vice im­me­di­ately af­ter the in­ci­dent. A se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer told The Sun­day Guardian that they have taken all pos­si­ble mea­sures, in­clud­ing de­ploy­ment of ad­di­tional forces at all the sen­si­tive places, to stop vi­o­lence.

Re­stric­tions will also be im­posed here in the city on Sun­day in view of the pro­posed protests, the of­fi­cial added.

For the first time in the re­cent past, Peo­ple’s Con­fer­ence leader Sa­j­jad Gani Lone said that the Gover­nor’s ad­min­is­tra­tion needed to “se­ri­ously eval­u­ate” the costs of such anti-mil­i­tancy op­er­a­tions in Kash­mir with di­min­ish­ing re­turns. In a tweet, he said, “If there is even a re­mote chance of civil­ians get­ting killed dur- ing mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions, it is bet­ter to call off such op­er­a­tions.”

Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party ( PDP) leader Me­hbooba Mufti tweeted, “No probe enough to bring back the dead in­no­cent civil­ians. South Kash­mir has been reel­ing un­der fear for the last six months. This is what was ex­pected from Gov rule? The ad­min has failed in se­cur­ing civil­ian lives.”

In his tweet, Na­tional Con­fer­ence leader Omar Ab­dul­lah said: “An­other blood­soaked week­end in Kash­mir. Re­ports of many in­jured at the en­counter site. What a hor­ri­ble day!”

Sep­a­ratist leader Mir­waiz Umar Fa­rooq tweeted, “Bul­lets and pel­lets rain! As Govt of In­dia has de­cided to kill Kash­miris through its #ArmedForce­s who con­trol us. JRL and peo­ple will march to­wards Badami Bagh Army can­ton­ment on Mon­day 17 Dec to ask GOI to kill all of us at one time rather than killing us daily.”

Other po­lit­i­cal lead­ers like Ghu­lam Has­san Mir also con­demned the killings. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s electoral de­feat in the As­sem­bly elec­tions in Mad­hya Pradesh, Ra­jasthan and Ch­hat­tis­garh seems to have em­bold­ened its part­ners in the Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance led by it and they are likely to put pres­sure on the party to give more seats to them in the 2019 Lok Sabha elec­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, Shiv Sena has ex­pressed its de­sire to con­test half of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Ma­ha­rash­tra. On the other hand, Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal leader Naresh Gu­jaral has said that his party would like the BJP to quickly set­tle the seat-shar­ing is­sue with al­lies.

This comes close on the heels of Rashtriya Lok Sa­mata Party (RLSP) leader Upen­dra Kush­waha pulling out of the al­liance and re­sign­ing as Min­is­ter of State in the Naren­dra Modi gov-

An in­jured per­son be­ing taken for treat­ment in Pul­wama district on Satur­day.

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