Srinagar: Three militant commanders have been killed in a month in south Kashmir, even as security establishment says that large scale operations are being carried out across Kashmir. The death toll of civilians at encounter sites in last one and a half year has mounted to 20, including two women.
On May 27, Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, who reportedly succeeded Burhan Wani as the Hizbul Mujahideen commander, was killed alongwith another militant in an encounter with police and Army in Tral area of Pulwama district. One civilian was also killed and several others injured in security forces firing as protests erupted at the encounter site. On June 16, two militants including LeT Commander Junaid Mattoo were killed in an encounter in Kulgam with Army, police and CRPF. A civilian was also killed in forces firing. A senior police officer said that anti-militancy operations have been intensified. “Not only in southern areas, everywhere in valley major hunts are on to track down militants,” he said adding that most of the operations are being carried after proper information.
With the killing of Tahira Bagum and Shadab Ahmad on Saturday, the death toll of civilians that were killed on encounter sites during last one and a half year mounted to 20.
In last four months, 10 people including two women have died due to firing by police, Central Reserve Police Force and Army near the gunfight sites, official records accessed by Greater Kashmir have revealed.
The firing on protestors has become a routine in the Valley where government forces fire upon civilian protestors who storm the gunfight sites in bid to help the militants escape the cordon. Many times they have been successful.
The first incident in which civilians fell to bullets of police and Army at an encounter site took place at Lilhar village in Pulwama district on February 15 last year. On that day, two students including a girl, were killed and 10 civilians injured when forces opened fire and resorted to teargas shelling to disperse the protesters who hit the streets after the death of a militant in a gunfight.
According to officials, a cursory assessment of the situations emerging at encounter sites in the past 15 months reflects that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) provided by the Bureau of Police Research and Development have no adherence on ground, thus taking a heavy toll on civilians in Kashmir. The BPR&D has laid down 20 instructions to be followed by security agencies operating in Kashmir on levels of use of force for dispersing crowds. The medical records of civilia