Jammu and Kashmir: Encounter between security forces and terrorists underway in Budgam

Cheryl Sanders
March 30, 2017

Officials said that most of the shops, business establishments, and fuel stations were shut in the summer capital here in view of the strike, while educational institutions remained closed in the city, the officials said. They pelted stones on the cops, who fired tear smoke shells and resorted to heavy baton charge.

One freedom fighter was killed in the operation and one weapon was recovered from the scene, said army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia. Army said stray bullets hit the girl.

Later, government forces fired into the crowd, killing three civilians, including a teenager, and injuring at least 20 others, police said, adding that eight police and soldiers were also injured in the clashes.

"The operation was really hard because, we had to fight it on two different platforms". As per official records, around 214 militants including 80 foreigners listed with the government, are active in Kashmir.

Al Jazeera was unable to immediately reach the Jammu and Kashmir state government or the ruling People's Democratic Party for comment.

The slain civilians have been identified as Zahid Dar, Saqib Ahmad and Ishfaq Ahmad Wani.

The clashes started when government forces killed a rebel fighter in the Chadoora area, senior police officer Javid Gillani said.

The disputed region has seen reinvigorated pro-independence protests after the killing of a popular militant commander in July past year.

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Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to explore an alternative to pellet guns to control protesters in Kashmir and also take action against parents of minors used as shields by militants during attacks on security forces. Reports said that youth in Saderkoot Bala area blocked Bandipora-Srinagar road to protest the killings. "We know there are issues that need to be addressed and resolved but no one will be able to do anything at a point when violence becomes a norm". The situation has worsened after Army chief, Bipin Rawat's statement that protesters will be treated as anti-nationals.

Authorities here and in all other district headquarters made sufficient deployment of police and paramilitary forces to maintain law and order. By-polls to two Lok Sabha seats in the Valley are due next month amid a renewed wave of violence across the Valley.

Other reports by iNewsToday