Security forces shot dead three militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district, sparking street clashes in Srinagar which injured several civilian protestors and security personnel on Wednesday, officials said.
Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed after a gunfight with security forces in a village that began the previous day, the officials said.
The battle started on Tuesday evening after security forces laid a cordon around Radbug village, some 30 km from here.
The militants opened fire when the cordon around the house in which they were hiding was tightened, a police officer said.
The operation, carried out jointly by the police, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Army, was halted after it got dark overnight. The exchange of fire resumed on Wednesday morning.
The militants rushed out of their hideout firing indiscriminately in a bid to escape. The security forces returned the fire and killed all the three, the officer said.
The slain men were identified as Javed Sheikh, Dawood and Sajad Ahmed Gilkar. Sheikh was the Hizbul district commander. Sheikh and Dawood were residents of Budgam district, CRPF DIG M. Dinakaran said. Gilkar hailed from Srinagar.
Dinakaran said an AK-56 assault rifle, a Self Loading Rifle, a pistol and seven magazines were recovered from the shootout site.
During the fighting, the security forces came under attack from villagers who hurled stones at them in a bid to help the militants escape.
“Villagers resorted to heavy stone pelting at the security forces to disrupt our operation. However, they were chased away,” Dinakaran told IANS.
Clashes broke out in Nowhatta in Srinagar’s Old City area on Wednesday after stone pelters clashed with security forces as news of Gilkar’s death in Budgam became known. Gilkar belonged to Nowhatta. The Jammu and Kashmir police said that he was behind the Dy SP Ayub Pandith’s lynching.
Soon, authorities imposed curfew in the areas of Rainawari, Nowhatta, M.R. Gunj, Khanyar and Safa Kadal in Srinagar.
Several protestors and security personnel in addition to a photo journalist were injured in the clashes.
Meanwhile, scores of people offered funeral prayers for Javed Sheikh in Sadpora village of Budgam district, reports reaching here said.
Authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in Budgam and Srinagar districts to check the spread of militant propaganda.