Three militants among seven killed in Kashmir violence (Roundup)

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Srinagar, May 5 (IANS) Three militants, three civilians and a policeman were killed in fresh violence in the Kashmir Valley on Saturday as authorities imposed strict restrictions and snapped mobile phone Internet services following protests near a gunfight site in an old Srinagar neighbourhood.

Police said three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were killed and four security personnel injured in the shootout in Chattabal, few kilometers away from city centre of Lal Chowk.

The gunfight triggered stone-pelting protests by local residents, who tried to help the holed-up militants escape from a hideout in a semi-constructed building in the densely populated locality of downtown Srinagar.

A protester was killed after he came under a police vehicle in the nearby Noorbagh area. Police said a case has been filed against the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident.

The gunfight erupted in Chattabal area on the banks of Jhelum after security forces received a tip off about the presence of militants there.

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As the search by a joint team of CRPF-police began, the militants opened fire at them.

Jammu and Kashmir Police chief S.P. Vaid said the shootout in Chattabal Srinagar ended. “Three bodies of terrorists recovered in a clean operation by J&K Police and CRPF. Well done boys!”

One of the slain militants was a local while the other two appeared foreigners, a police officer said.

Police said the militants were planning a major attack in Srinagar. They claimed some AK 47 rifles, magazines, UBGL grenades, wire cutter, medical kit and matrix sheets were recovered from the shootout site.

Three CRPF personnel and a Special Police Officer were injured in the gunfight. Their condition was stated to be “stable”.

Earlier, as soon as gunshots were heard, people in the nearby areas came out of their houses and tried to disrupt the operation and threw stones at security forces.

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Police dispersed the protesters by firing tear smoke shells and in the mellee when Adil Ahmad Yadoo, a local resident, was crushed by a vehicle driven by a policeman.

He was taken to the nearby S.M.H.S. hospital where he was declared brought dead.

A police spokesman said an FIR has been lodged in Safa Kadal Police Station against the driver.

Protests were also staged at the hospital where some people tried to take possession of Yadoo’s body in an attempt to organise mass funeral for him.

As police resisted, people threw stones at them, triggering more protests. Three photojournalists were said to have been injured in the chaos at the hospital.

Separatist groups called for a strike on Sunday to protest against the incident. Schools and colleges suspended class work as tension spread in the city. Markets and other business shut down.

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Authorities suspended mobile Internet services in Srinagar district and brought down the speed of fixed line broadband connections.

In more violence, militants shot dead a man and his nephew in north Kashmir Bandipora district. Ghulam Hassan and Bashir Ahmed were abducted from Shahgund village of Hajin area on Friday night.

“The bullet ridden bodies of the victims were found near a mosque in Shahgund village on Saturday morning,” police said.

A Special Police Officer (SPO), Showkat Ahmad, was killed by militants in south Kashmir Pulwama district, officials said.

The SPOs are engaged in Jammu and Kashmir on a fixed monthly package to fight militancy. They do not undergo a regular training in handling weapons.

–IANS

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