Two militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces in a village in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday. One civilian was also killed in crossfire, police said.
"Two militants belonging to the Hizbul Mujahideen - identified as Riyaz Naik and Lateef Dar - were killed in a gun battle with the security forces today (Wednesday) in Naina Batpora village," a senior police officer in Pulwama said.
"A civilian identified as Parvaiz Ahmad Guroo, aged 26, was hit by a bullet at the encounter site in Naina Batpora village. The injured civilian was shifted to Awantipora hospital where he succumbed to a critical bullet injury," he said.
Initial reports had said that two civilians were injured in a grenade explosion during the attack while removing debris from a damaged house and one of them died later.
Villagers accused the security forces of firing at the civilian. Police later clarified that the circumstances that led to the civilian’s death will be investigated.
Police said that two civilians were injured in a grenade explosion as they were removing debris from Abdul Wani’s house which was destroyed in the gunfight. Police alleged that the house was being used as a fortified bunker by separatist militants.
Security forces were only able to recover the body of only one killed militant and the villagers escalated their protest and the forces had to withdraw.
As the news spread about the civilian’s death, an agitated mob of villagers near Kakapora town torched a vehicle of the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police.
Senior officials of the local administration and the SOG had to rush to the spot to pacify the mob.
Police said that personnel of the 55 Rashtriya Rifles, 182 and 183 Battalions of Central Reserve Police Force and SOG had surrounded Abdul Wani’s house on Tuesday evening after they received a tip-off that militants were holed up there.
When the security forces asked the militants to surrender, they started indiscriminate firing which triggered the gunfight, police said.