Tral Erupts After Militant Killing

5 July 2014
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: At least 16 policemen were injured in South Kashmir's Tral town on Saturday when 'angry and emotional protestors' attacked government forces and torched two of their armoured vehicles after the death of Hizb militant in Aripal area during a gun battle with joint team of Army and paramilitary forces. According to police Budgam based army unit (35 RR) along with local Army unit (42 RR) and Special Operations Group of JK Police personnel encountered a group of militants in Aripal hamlet following a raid. 'At around 4.30 in the morning, movement of militants was observed, who resorted to intense firing after being challenged by the joint party. After brief exchange of fire, the militants managed to flee from the spot and rushed towards nearby dense jungle,' a police official said. He added that at around 8 in the morning, both the militants were spotted and attacked. 'One of them fled from the spot while another one was neutralized who later on was identified as Hizb foreign militant Ghazali,' he said. Reports said that at least two army jawans were injured during the shootout. As the news about the death of the militant spread in Aripal and adjoining areas, people in large number took to streets and demanded the body be handed over to them for last rites. Eyewitnesses said that police bundled the body in a vehicle and shifted it to Youngven camp for postmortem purposes. Reports said that infuriated protestors, thousands in number attacked police personnel who in return fired scores of bullets in air. 'I am witness to it, policemen resorted to aerial firing continuously for half an hour that created chaos and confusion in the area,' a resident said. Reports said that the hundreds of residents of Hundora, Ludav Jageer, Aripal, Pastuna, Gulshanpora, Chhatargam, Ludgam and Batagund wanted to take the body of the militant for funeral and resented the move of police to conduct his postmortem. When police foiled their attempt they in return resorted to heavy stone pelting sparking fierce clashes. Angry youth attacked police and SOG personnel and torched two of their armoured vehicles. An eyewitness said that some angry protestors thrashed some SOG personnel mercilessly and tore their uniforms. Some protestors reportedly decamped with empty magazine of a police man. Reports said that both the armoured vehicles were completely damaged. One of the numberless armoured vehicle set on fire by protestors belonged to SOG camp Awantipora while another armoured vehicle (JK02A-8726) pertained to police station Tral. Eyewitnesses said that during the clashes, at least 16 policemen were injured. 'All but five SOG personnel received stitches in their different parts of body,' a police official said. Reports said that in a bid to pacify the violent protestors, the body of slain militant was handed over to them at Aripal. His body was taken in a long procession to Hunduro village for last rites. However, hundreds of people objected and demanded that the body be laid to rest in Aripal. The village heads diffused the tense and after their intervention, the slain militant was laid to rest with tearful eyes at Pastuna village where all but more than 20,000 people participated in his funeral prayers. Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Tral against the killing of the militant. All the shops and business establishments remained closed while transport was off the roads. Large number of people offered funeral prayers in absentia at different places of the town. Exercised Restraint: Police A police statement said, after the death of a foreign militant in the encounter some miscreants pelted stones on police. 'The 'miscreants' set on fire two police vehicles. These vehicles suffered damage. Police exercised maximum restraint. There are no reports of injury to anyone,' added the police statement. After the encounter was over, the locals observed complete shutdown and resorted to stone pelting till the body of slain militant was handedover to them. He was laid to rest in Pastuna village.