A DAY after the killing of four militants and two civilians — one in an encounter and another in the protests that followed — in Kulgam district in south Kashmir, restrictions were imposed in Kulgam and Shopian districts to thwart fresh protests. Two Army personnel were also killed in the encounter on Sunday. The separatist leadership had announced a shutdown in Kashmir to protest against the killing of civilians. Opposition parties have blamed the government for not following the standard operating procedure during the encounter.
Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in Kulgam and Shopian districts on Monday, and all major roads leading towards the towns were sealed. However the national highway remained open to traffic. Most of those injured in the protests have been discharged. Sakib Hasan, 17, a Class X student, suffered pellet injuries in the left eye. Undergoing treatment at the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, he said he travelled 46 kilometres, from Chakboora Pulwama to the encounter site in Frisal.
“I wanted to participate in the funeral of the militants. We heard that the situation was normal as the encounter had ended,” he said. On reaching Frisal, Hasan said he saw a huge crowd gathered there. “I saw Army vehicles moving out of the village. People were throwing stones at them,” he said. He said a policeman fired pellets at him, and his friends took him to hospital.
“The people were protesting after the encounter. Policemen fired bullets to disperse the crowd. Instead of teargas shells, they used pellets and bullets,” alleged another injured, who did not want to be named. But Kulgam SSP Sridhar Patel said: “The people were trying to break the cordon. There is a standard operating procedure in this regard — that people should not move near the encounter site. We will ascertain the facts.”