Security forces on Tuesday killed three suspected militants in Shopian, including the brother of an Indian Police Service officer, officials told Scroll.in. Former Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid identified the brother of the IPS officer as Shamsul Haq.
Vaid said, “I remember the efforts that were made by his brother, other family members and the Jammu and Kashmir Police to bring him back to the mainstream but he met a sad end today.”
At least four photojournalists were injured during the clashes that erupted around the site of a gunfight between the security forces and militants. Hindustan Times photojournalist Waseem Andrabi, Rising Kashmir’s Nisar ul Haq, Kashmir Essence reporter Junaid Gulzar and Mir Burhan of ANN were injured.
Security forces including personnel from the Army, police and Central Reserve Police Force collaborated in a joint operation to track down militants who were reportedly hiding in the Heff Shirmal village, NDTV reported. “The operation was planned by police on specific information about a hideout in the orchards Sheermal,” said Director General of Police Dilbag Singh.
This is the second encounter in the Valley in the last 24 hours. On Monday, the Jammu and Kashmir Police said they had killed three militants in a gunfight in Budgam district. Suspected militants had carried out three grenade attacks on January 17 and 18 – two of them in Srinagar and one in Shopian. Three police officers were wounded in the January 17 attack in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, journalist associations in the state have denounced the alleged assault on their colleagues. The Kashmir Press Photographers Association described the incident as a “brutal, murderous” assault on photojournalists by security forces, Kashmir News Service reported.
“KPPA believes that the oft-repeated assault on the photojournalists is uncalled for and employing such tactics by the government forces won’t deter us from carrying out our professional duties,” their statement said. “The association urges the Governor Satya Pal Malik and Director General of Police Dilbag Singh to personally look into the matter and order a magisterial enquiry into the incident followed by strict action against the erring cops.”
The Kashmir Press Club rebuked the security forces for targeting the journalists, Kashmir Observer reported. “It is not the first time such an incident has happened,” the press club said. “Most unfortunate that journalists are made a targeted when they are only performing their duties. It is appalling that pellets were fired at them.”