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Security forces may have spared Burhan Wani had they known he was in the hideout: Mehbooba Mufti

The Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said they did not have time to prepare for the aftermath of the July 8 shootout, which triggered statewide protests.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said security forces may have spared Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani had they known he was among the militants in the Anantnag hideout during their combing operation. "How do we know about an encounter?...I believe that had they known he [Wani] was there, he would have been given one chance as the situation was fast improving in the state..But they didn't know who they were," she said, adding that they did not know the identity of the three militants who were gunned down on July 8.

Mufti indicated that the government would have taken precautions to prevent the situation in the state "from turning to what it is today" had anyone known Wani had been holed up in the south Kashmir village then, IANS reported. Wani's killing triggered a spate of clashes in Kashmir between protesters and security personnel. At least 47 people have died and more than 5,500 others have sustained injuries in the agitations so far.

The Peoples Democratic Party leader compared the state of unrest in Kashmir to the aftermath of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's hanging. She said the then chief minister Omar Abdullah had had time in hand to make security arrangements, in anticipation of retaliation from his supporters. "When Afzal Guru was hanged, Omar knew [about it]. So he made all the arrangements in advance. We knew nothing and we came to know suddenly. Despite that, we tried to impose curfew so children do not come out," she said.

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