March 2017 News

3 Killed As Army Fires On J&K Mob Trying To Shield Terrorist

28 March 2017
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Following up on Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat's warning that civilians trying to disrupt combat operations against militants would be treated as overground members of terror outfits and dealt with harshly, the Army fired at civilian sympathisers of a holedup terrorist, killing three of them, in J&K on Tuesday. A joint team of the Army, police and CRPF surrounded a house at Zuin village in central Kashmir's Budgam in which the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist was hiding. An encounter began at 5.30am once the terrorist began firing. Civilian protesters soon gathered at the spot and began pelting the forces with stones, injuring more than 60 police and CRPF men along with four soldiers, Army spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said. The Army had to fire at the protesters, killing three of them - all in their twenties - before the eight-hour-long operation ended with the terrorist, Tauseef Ahmed, being gunned down. CRPF DIG Sanjay Kumar was quoted by agencies as saying, 'The operation was really difficult... we had to fight it on two different platforms, against militants and local people.' He added, 'A few people really made our day difficult... Lot of commotion, stone pelting, abusing and injuring our people.' Youngsters from nearby villages, too, began throwing stones at the security personnel to give cover to the terrorist and help him escape, police sources said. Tuesday's incident showed that Gen Rawat's warning to a section of J&K civilians has not had much impact, while also displaying the Army's new willingness to sternly deal with them. The stone throwers killed were identified as Zahid Rashid Ganai and Kaisar Ahmad of Zuin village and Ashfaq Ahmad Wani of Rangreth. 'As the forces approached, the terrorist hiding in the house began firing. We then retaliated,' police said. By the end of the encounter, the house was leveled with blasts triggered by the security forces. Police retrieved Tauseef's body and found an assault rifle and ammunition on him. The trend of terrorist sympathizers disrupting counterterror operations had emerged in the valley a couple of years ago. It has become more prevalent since the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani last year. Meanwhile, terror groups continued to intimidate families of policemen in the Valley. On Sunday, terrorists threatened the relatives of a cop and set fire to his car in Hafru village in Budgam district. The cop was away on duty in Baramulla. Late Monday evening, terrorists threatened the kin of a police officer at Diyaroo in south Kashmir's Shopian district.