Srinagar, Jan 20 (IANS) Two separatist guerrillas were killed on Wednesday in a gunfight with security forces in a village in Kashmir’s Pulwama district, and a civilian succumbed to a bullet allegedly fired by troopers, 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 told IANS here.
“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.
An earlier report said two civilians were injured in a grenade explosion while removing the debris from the damaged house, and one of them died later.
While the villagers accused the security forces of firing at the civilian, the police officer said the circumstances leading to the civilian casualty were being ascertained.
Two other civilians were injured in an explosion as villagers were removing the debris of Abdul Salam Wani’s house destroyed in the gunfight. The house was allegedly used as a fortified bunker by the separatists.
Security forces recovered only one body of the slain guerrillas as they withdrew from the village following protests by villagers.
An agitated mob in nearby Kakapora town torched a vehicle of Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police as the news about the civilian’s death spread.
Senior civil and security force officials rushed to spot to take stock of the situation.
Police said troops of the 55 Rashtriya Rifles, 182 and 183 Battalions of Central Reserve Police Force and SOG surrounded the village house on Tuesday evening after a tip-off.
When the security forces asked the guerrillas to surrender, they resorted to indiscriminate firing that triggered the gunfight, police said.