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Three militants killed in encounter in Srinagar

In September last year, Srinagar was declared militancy-free

Militancy terror representational image Representational image | Reuters

Three militants were killed in an encounter at Rambagh in Srinagar on Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir Police said.

Police said the militants were asked to surrender, but they opened fire instead. In the ensuing encounter, three terrorists were killed. 

IGP, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar identified one of three slain as Mehran, a top commander of TRF (The Resistance Front), accused of killing two teachers and other civilians in the capital city in October this year.

Fear gripped Srinagar after a protest broke out at the city's Rambagh area where the militants were killed.

Soon after the incident, the residents gathered on the street and started shouting slogans against police, accusing them of killing the three militants by firing at them indiscriminately.

Eyewitness said the three slain didn’t retaliate as they had no weapons on them. “One of them fled into the lane, but he was dragged out and shot,’’ said a woman.

Another woman, accompanied by her niece, witnessed the killings from a shop nearby. She said several policemen fired at one of the three men indiscriminately. “After killing the three men, the police took away their bodies,’’ she said.

The residents of the area and passerby raised slogans against the police. Some women were seen wailing.

A woman said nobody is safe in Kashmir anymore. “When such incidents happen, everybody fears for their loved ones' safety,’’ she said.

The residents were seen clearing the blood clots on the road with water.

In September last year, Srinagar was declared militancy-free. However, a year later, targeted killings of civilians, including those from the minority communities, security officials, encounters and militarisation are back.

The government reacted to the civilian killings by beefing up security in the area. Around 55 companies of CRPF and 25 companies were rushed to Kashmir after Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to J&K in October.

Many of the freshly arrived troops have taken over marriage halls built by the Srinagar municipality in congested localities for social gatherings.

The troop build-up has not gone down well with the locals as it raised a sense of siege. After the arrival of additional troops, more checkpoints have come up across the city.

Encounters, in particular, have shattered the claim of normalcy in Kashmir.

The first encounter in the city this year took place on October 8. According to police, a militant was killed in an encounter at Natipora after he opened fire at a police team.

On November 11, the police said a militant was killed in an encounter at Hamdaniya Colony, Bemina. He was identified as Amir Riyaz of Khrew Pulwama, affiliated with militant outfit Mujahideen Ghazwat-ul- Hind. An encounter broke out in Bemina after J&K Police and Central Reserve Police Force cordoned off the area after inputs of the presence of militants. The police retaliated after the militants opened fire, and one terrorist was killed in the gunfight.

On October 14, J&K Police said it had killed four persons, including a foreign militant  Bilal Bhai, his associate, Amir Ahmed, an  Overground Worker (OGW), Altaf Ahmed Bhat , owner of the building where the encounter took place, and his tenant,  Dr Mudasir Gul, a dentist-turned-real estate contractor.

The families of the Bhat, Gul and Ahmed strongly rejected the police claim that the three were militants, and staged a protest at Press Enclave at Residency Road in Srinagar, and demanded their bodies for burial. The government ordered a magisterial probe into the killings due to massive public outrage. Bodies of Bhat and Gul were returned to their families, but Ahmed’s body was not returned to his family.

Bhat and Gul were reburied at their ancestral graveyard in Srinagar.

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