Five militants were shot dead in two separate gunfights with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district, the police said on Tuesday.

In the first case, three militants of The Resistance Front, an off shoot of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, were killed in Tulran.

Inspector General of Police Kashmir Vijay Kumar said that Mukhtar Shah, who was one of three militants, had killed Virender Paswan, a resident of Bihar’s Bhagalpur district, last week. Paswan sold street food in Srinagar.

Paswan was killed on October 5 along with 68-year-old Makhan Lal Bindroo, a Kashmiri Pandit pharmacist.

The police said that Shah was a resident of Ganderbal district. They claimed he had moved to Shopian after killing Paswan.

The Resistance Front had claimed responsibility for the killings of Bindroo and a third civilian, Mohammad Shafi Lone. The organisation had accused both of them of helping the central government and said that it had warned them not to do so in the past.

The police said that the gunfight broke out in the Imamsahab area of Shopian district on Monday evening, and arms and ammunition had been recovered from the militants.

Another gunbattle had broken out in Feeripora area of Shopian. The Army said that it had repeatedly asked the militants to surrender. However, they fired indiscriminately upon the security forces. Two militants died in retaliatory firing, the Army said.

Those who died were identified as Ubaid Ahmad Dar, a resident of Ray Kapren, and Khubaib Ahmad Nengroo, a resident of Braripora, according to PTI.

Civilian killings

Since October 2, seven civilians have been shot dead in Kashmir.

Of these, four belonged to Hindu or Sikh minorities in the Valley. Three others were Kashmiri Muslim.

After every killing, The Resistance Front claimed responsibility and explained why they killed the victims. They had been killed because they were “agents of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh”, “non-local Hindutva agents”, government “informers”, the statements had claimed.

On October 7, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that innocents were being killed in Jammu and Kashmir and strongly condemned the targeted killings of civilians in the Union Territory.

Politicians across the Union Territory have also condemned the killings. The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, a coalition of political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, said on October 8 that the killings “have created a climate of fear”. The alliance had also criticised the Centre for failing to contain militancy in the region.

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