Separatists called a general strike on Wednesday after three civilians killed in security forces’ action against protesters near an encounter site in Budgam district in Kashmir. A militant was killed during an encounter by the security forces in that area.
On Tuesday, three youths were killed and 18 were injured as the army collided with the stone-pelters who were trying to disrupt an anti-militancy operation.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti described the killing of three civilians as “highly painful”. Opposition National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said this incident replicates the “alarming situation” in the valley.
Chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik said in a joint statement in Srinagar, “There should be a complete strike tomorrow and peaceful protests after Friday prayers against the incident.”
Yesterday, security forces launched a search operation in Durbugh area of Chadoora village after they got the information about the presence of militants in the area.
A police officer said after the hiding militant started fire at the security forces, the search operation turned into a gun battle. An army official said, “One militant has been killed and a weapon has been recovered from the scene of the encounter.”
As the gunbattle was ongoing, a large number of protesters gathered at the area and pelted stones on them.
According to DNA, 63 security personnel, including 43 from the CRPF and 20 from the state police were injured in the stone-pelting.
The protesters were shouting pro-azadi and pro-militant slogans and pelted stones at the security forces to break the barricades. The security forces used smoke shells and pellet guns to scatter the mob. When that did not work, the force opened fire at the protesters which killed three civilians.
The civilians were identified as Saqib Ahamd, Zahid Dar and Ishfaq Ahmad Wani.
The clashes between security forces and protesters were going on the whole day. It has been continued even after Army Chief Bipin Rawat warned the youth against interfering in the anti-militancy operations and the state administration imposing Section 144 within three-kilometre radius of the encounter site.
The Army Chief said those who create problems during encounters and are not supportive will be treated as “overground workers of terrorists”. He maintained the people who displaying flags of Pakistan and ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir will be dealt as anti-nationals.
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to find an alternative to pellet guns to control the protesters in Kashmir and take action against parents of minors who were used as a shield by militants during the attacks on the security forces.