Civilian, Army man killed in ongoing encounter and protests in south Kashmir

Security forces stand guard during restrictions in downtown Srinagar on April 6

A police official said the operation is on in the area.

Local residents started pelting security personnel with stones, leading to clashes in which around 20 civilians were also injured, they said.

The operation against militants in Kulgam, which began on Tuesday night, was called off after one soldier and four civilians were killed, even as the militants managed to escape. However, when the security forces were sealing the area, militants hiding there, opened indiscriminate firing with automatic weapons.

Three Army men were injured in the initial engagement with the militants.

A police spokesperson said three civilians were killed in the "cross-fire" between militants and security forces. They said the militants were able to escape.

Mehbooba Mufti said there is an urgent need to get together to get Jammu Kashmir out of this vicious cycle of violence and killings.

"He died of injuries at an Army hospital", a police statement said, adding, "In the encounter and subsequent protests, four civilians - Sharjeel Sheikh (25), Bilal Ahmad Tantray (16), Faisal Illahi (14) and Aijaz Ahmad Palla (30) - were killed", the statement added.

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Reports claim the civilian killings were caused after the local populace hindered in the operation of security forces.

Several clashes were also reported in other areas of Kashmir.

Sixty injured were shifed to PHC Qaimouh while 18 were admitted in Kulgam and Anantnag hospitals out of which 8 were referred to Srinagar hospitals.

In wake of Kulgam killings, authorities on Wednesday afternoon chose to snap mobile internet services in south Kashmir parts while as they asked the cellular companies to reduce mobile internet speed in district Srinagar as "a precautionary measure".

Most Kashmiris support the rebels' cause while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.

The separatist Joint Resistance Leadership of Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik condemned the killings and called for a two-day strike in Kashmir.

The encounter in Kulgam today comes days after the Indian forces successfully neutralized a total of 13 Hizbul Mujahideen militants in a spree of encounters conducted on April 1.

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