Separatists called band in Kashmir against Shopian killings

Grant SmithMar 07, 2018

Many conflicts including stone-pelting emitted in Shopian as individuals turned out in the city to challenge asserted regular citizen passings in the south Kashmir locale on Sunday evening.

Restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar, Pulwama and Shopian "as a precautionary measure".

A local source identified him as 24-year-old Gawhar Ahmed Lone and said his corpse was found lying inside a Wagon-R vehicle near the site Sunday night's clash.

Six bodies were found near the encounter site, one of them five kilometres away, after the shootout. Anger spread across South Kashmir as thousands shouted slogans and joined the last rites of those killed.

The deaths on Sunday evening occurred after a militant travelling in a auto attacked an Indian Army's mobile vehicle checkpost near Pahnoo village in Shopian district, some 60 km south of Srinagar. The Army men were fired upon and they retaliated.

According to the family members, the four deceased youths in the two vehicles - identified as Gowhar Ahmed Lone, Suhail Khaleel, Mohammad Shahid Khan and Shahnawaz Ahmad Wagay, all residents of Shopian - were "civilians". "The accomplices who were accompanying the militant were also found to be dead".

While the army called them "over-the-ground workers or accomplices" of the militants travelling in a Maruti Swift vehicle, the locals said they were just civilians. Later during the search, the body of Amir Ahmad Malik was recovered. Shops and business establishments remained closed in Shopian while transport remained off the roads, a police official said.

The gunfight took place around 8 pm on Sunday. The stops deployed, signaled the vehicles to stop, however both the vehicles continued to move.

At around 8pm, two speeding vehicles were seen approaching the checkpoint from the direction of Trenz village, he said.

"Our troops, in self defence, responded to the same with fire. In the retaliatory fire, one militant was killed and a weapon has been found with him", Kalia said. Later, we found that three persons in the vehicle had died. A fourth civilian's body was recovered from a nearby vehicle, officials said, and the body of another rebel was found a few kilometers (miles) away.

Authorities cut cellphone internet service in the most restive towns, and reduced connection speeds in other parts of the Kashmir Valley, a common government practice to calm tensions and prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organized.

At Malikgund, thousands participated in at least eight rounds of funeral prayers held for slain youth Muhammad Shahid Khan, amid pro-azadi and pro-Islam slogans. He was missing since November 13, 2017.

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