South Kashmir’s Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag districts were completely shut down for a second day in a row on Tuesday after two militants and four civilians were killed in an alleged encounter on Sunday, Greater Kashmir reported.
According to witnesses, several youth pelted stones at security personnel posted near Shopian’s mini-secretariat , the report said. Clashes were also reported in Anantnag. Around 20 people were injured after government forces lobbed teargas to stop the protests on Tuesday.
Shops and business establishments stayed shut across Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag even though there was no call for a strike. The Joint Resistance Leadership has planned a “Shopian chalo” on Wednesday, Rising Kashmir reported.
Public transport was off the roads and mobile internet services were blocked in Pulwama and Shopian. Late on Tuesday, the service was restored in Anantnag and Kulgam.
The encounter took place around 8 pm on Sunday in Shopian’s Pahnoo village. An initial statement by the Army said it was “retaliatory firing” that killed one militant and three “OGW/accomplices” – referring to the civilians as “OGWs” or overground workers, a term commonly used in Kashmir for non-combatants who provide logistical support for militant groups.
The killings have led to rising tensions in the region as the victims’ families contested the Army’s allegation that they were accomplices.
On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also referred to those who died in the encounter as “civilians caught in the crossfire”.
In the Pinjoora and Pahnoo hamlets, residents protested demanding that the Army camp in Pinjoora be moved, Greater Kashmir reported. “We cannot see more youth getting killed by the Army,” the newspaper quoted a protester as saying.
Meanwhile, the police have registered a case against all six people who were killed in Sunday’s encounter, The Tribune reported.
The case is based on a complaint filed by Major Parveen Menon of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles. Menon said the Army had set up a check-post near a school at Pahnoo on Sunday evening, and that two cars tried to drive past without stopping.
“The troops at the check-post challenged the occupants of the cars but they did not stop and instead fired from inside the car on the troops with the intent to kill them,” the Major said in his complaint, The Tribune reported.