Over 40 people were injured in violent clashes that ensued an operation of security forces against three militants holed-up inside a house in Kulgam on Wednesday. The militants managed to escape, the police said.
“Three Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants managed to escape after an initial round of fire. We called off the operation in the afternoon. No body was retrieved from the encounter site,” Superintendent of Police, Kulgam, Grinder Pal Singh said.
A fierce gunfight between hiding militants and security forces erupted around 4 a.m. at Tazipora village of Mahmoodpora area in Kulgam, after a joint team of the Army, the CRPF and the police successfully zeroed in on a house where militants were hiding. The house, which was blasted during the operation, turned into a mound. However, after inspecting the debris no body was found, an official said.
However, hundreds of locals clashed with the security forces in Kulgam, in an apparent bid to save the trapped militants.
Security forces used tear smoke shells, live bullets and pellet shotgun to contain the situation. “Around 40 to 50 injured were received at the Public Health Centre Mohammedpora. Most of them were discharged after the first aid,” said Chief Medical Officer, Kulgam, Fazil Kochak.
Of 50, nine youth received severe wounds inflicted by bullets and pellets. According to the hospital officials, six youth received pellet injuries in eyes, one received bullet wounds in the abdomen and two suffered pellet injuries on the upper body.
Seven severely injured were shifted to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital in Srinagar. The hospital had to raise an alarm for blood donation after falling short of O-ve blood group for the injured.
“It was a scene of a war. Security forces used indiscriminate force against the youth in lanes and bylanes,” said an injured in Srinagar on the condition of anonymity.
Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq warned the situation may “only exacerbate on the ground if people are targetted with bullets and pellets in the holy month of Ramadan. Peoples aspirations can only be addressed politically, not through use of force,” Mirwaiz said.