A civilian was killed along with three Hizbul Mujahideen militants in a pre-dawn gunfight in Srinagar on Thursday, with the victim’s son claiming that security forces had fired on their vehicle.
Officials maintained that the 45-year-old woman died in “crossfire” during the gunfight, which also left a CRPF commandant injured.
“On a specific input regarding presence of terrorists in Batamaloo area of Srinagar, a joint cordon-and-search operation was launched by Srinagar Police and CRPF in the said area,” the police said in a statement. “During the search operation, as the presence of terrorists got ascertained they were given opportunity to surrender, however they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter. In the initial indiscriminate firing by the terrorists, Dy. Commandant CRPF Shri Rahul Mathur and a lady identified as Kounsar Jan got seriously injured.”
Police said the woman died instantly while the injured CRPF officer was taken to a hospital.
The woman’s son, who was accompanying her when she was shot, claimed that the forces opened “a burst of fire on their car”. “We were travelling in the car at around 4 am when we saw a huge presence of forces. My mother asked me to take a turn and return,” he said. “As we started to head back home, they opened a burst of fire.”
The gunfight and woman’s death sparked protests in the area, with youths pelting stones at security forces.
The militants were identified as Zakir Ahmad Paul of Shopian, Ubair Mushtaq Bhat of Badragund, Kulgam and Adil Hussain Bhat of Chersoo, Awantipora. “They were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit HM…,” the police statement said.
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