Kulgam registers this year’s first ‘unsuccessful encounter’ amid 50 injures to protestors | KNO

House razed to ground, militants manage to flee; Police says not more than ten protestors injured, militants took cover of darkness to escape, asks youth not to come closer to gunfight site
Kulgam registers this year’s first ‘unsuccessful encounter’ amid 50 injures to protestors | KNO

Kashmir News Observer (KNO)

Srinagar, May 29 (KNO) : After almost 40 successful anti-militancy operations in year 2018 resulting in the death of 94 militants since January, security agencies witnessed first violent protest at the encounter site at Muhammad Pora in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district that saw over 50 protestors severely injured, many of them hit by pellets in both eyes. The police officials, however, told KNO that not more than ten protestors were injured in the clashes as they tried to disrupt the anti-militancy operations and that “media had exaggerated the figures”. Police also said that hospital records show not more than ten persons injured in the clashes. However, witnesses said that more than 50 protestors were injured, with 15 of them hit in eyes, some of them in both eyes. A top police officer revealed to KNO that today’s protests at the encounter site at Kulgam was first of its kind ever since the “pre-dawn” anti-militancy operations were started by the security agencies since January this year. “So far 94 militants were killed and all the previous operations were successful in every nature as there was no collateral damage of any major law and order situation. Yes, today, we saw a crowd coming closer to the encounter site, but minimum force was used in which not more than ten protestors sustained injures,” the officer said. “Hospital records suggested only ten injuries, a few of them with the pellets.” According to police, a siege was laid around Muhammad Pora after specific inputs about the presence of militants in a house. “It was a pre-dawn operation and after initial exchange of fire there was a lull. Soon after morning prayers, forces faced violent crowd,” the police said. A group of witnesses told KNO that a crowd of around 10,000 youth marched towards the encounter site amid slogans and threw stones at the security forces leading to violent clashes. “In between, forces fired mortars at the house and razed it to ground expecting that militants who were hiding may have died. However, unmindful of the volleys of pellets and other live ammunition used by the forces, especially police and the CRPF, irate protestors continued to march towards the house,” they said. “Security forces intensified their firing and I saw many youth falling down because of heavy pellet firing on them.” They said many protestors sustained grave pellet injuries in their eyes and almost seven were referred to SMHS hospital Srinagar. “At least 50 protestors were injured in the force’s action,” said an eye-witness said. Sources in the security grid told KNO that today’s Kulgam operation was launched after specific inputs about the presence of two to three militants including a foreigner. “After searches, body of none was recovered from the debris. So it is sure that all of them managed to flee,” they said. However, eye-witnesses said that two militants were hiding under the debris, who were rescued by the protestors. “We saw two men along with weapons coming out of debris. They later vanished in the crowd,” the witnesses told KNO. Meanwhile, police appealed to the youth not to come closer to the encounter sites.(KNO)