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Three militants, woman killed in encounter in Batamaloo area of Srinagar


SRINAGAR: Three militants and a civilian woman were killed in an encounter in Batamaloo area of Srinagar on Thursday leading to civilian protests in the area. Businesses remained closed on Thursday as youngsters clashed with the forces deployed in the alleys. J&K police chief Dilbag Singh claimed that all the three militants were locals from south Kashmir, but did not reveal their identity.

“The three militants were killed and weapons recovered from them. Unfortunately, a civilian woman was also killed in the crossfire,” Singh said.

The operation, which started at around 2 am in Batamaloo continued till 10:30 am and when the forces were leaving the spot, civilian protests erupted. Pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan, anti-Modi and anti-government slogans were raised during the protests. The police, however, were successful in containing the protests within the area and managed to keep the main road functioning.

Police claim to have shot the militants in the house of one Abdul Majid Ganai. However, Ganai claims that there was nobody in the house other than his family members.

“Forces entered our house at around 2 am and took away my three sons and seized our six mobile phones. I was asked to go out along with my daughters,” said Ganai, a former bank manager, who lives in single storey house in lane number 3 of the area.

A few hundred meters away, in lane number 9, the family members of Kousar Riyaz, 45, claimed that she was killed during the firing by the armed forces near the encounter spot.

“I, along with my mother, were driving towards our bakery at around 4 am, which is our routine schedule. Unaware of the cordon, I drove towards the main road and my mother spotted a contingent of armed forces,” said Aqib, who witnessed the killing of his mother in the car. Sensing trouble, she had advised him to take a U-Turn to go back to their home. “While I was driving back a volley of bullets hit my mother’s head from behind. She was lying there in pool of blood,” he said.

The forces didn’t come close to the car until he told them that his mother had died. After a while, he was asked to take his mother to the police control room, the family claims. The body was not handed over to the family till evening, as police feared it would trigger severe protests in the area. “We would give the body to the family members,” Singh had told reporters.

Singh said 177 militants have been killed in 72 operations across J&K this year, of whom 22 were foreigners. At least 12 of them were killed in Jammu. During seven operations of the armed forces in Srinagar this year, 16 militants were killed, of whom five were the residents of the city.

He said Srinagar has always been on the radar of militants who keep trying to instigate trouble. The police chief criticised Pakistan for its continued support to militancy in Kashmir.

“Pakistan leaves no stone unturned to create trouble here. From Karachi, they are reviving Al Badr outfit and launching many others like TRF here,” said Singh.

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