Following a cordon-and-search operation in Sirnoo village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, launched by the security forces following an intelligence input, three terrorists have been reportedly killed in an encounter which broke out this morning.
An army jawan was also martyred during the encounter.
as per reports, an Indian jawan-turned-terrorist, Zahoor Ahmad Thokar was also among the terrorists who have been neutralised. The other two slain terrorists are identified as Adnan Wani and Tahir Hizbi.
Hizbul Mujahideen had claimed in July this year that Zahoor Ahmad Thokar of 173 Territorial Army, who went missing along with his service rifle, had joined the terrorist organisation.
The encounter broke out as the militants opened fire at the army jawans while they were carrying out the search operations following a tip-off about the presence of terrorists in the area. The security forces retaliated leading to an encounter, the official confirmed.
During and after the incident, a large number of civilians reportedly gathered to protest against the encounters and soon it turned violent. Reports state that the gathered civilians resorted to stone pelting to disrupt the operations and the forces had to retaliate by tear-gas shelling and eventually firing. As per the latest reports, eight civilians have been killed and over 50 have been injured in the retaliatory action by security forces.
Local villagers often serve as human shields for the hiding terrorists and attack security forces with stones to create a distraction during anti-terrorist operations. Incidents of heavy stone pelting and attack on security forces are often seen in the valley.
Former DGP of Jammu and Kashmir, Sesh Paul Vaid expressed his anguish over civilian deaths and stated that civilians in the area are instigated by terrorists and their ‘masters across the border’ to reach the encounter site to disrupt operations.
Anguished at the loss of lives of civilians in an encounter in Pulwama. Continued instigation by terrorists and their masters across, for the civilians to reach the encounter site and disrupt the operation by stone pelting leads to loss of precious lives. Terrible.
— Shesh Paul Vaid (@spvaid) December 15, 2018
Following the civilian deaths, the Pulwama area has turned tensed and internet services have been suspended in the area. Train service between The Banihal town and Kashmir valley has also been suspended.