March 2018 News

Civilians Accompanying Militants A Matter Of Investigation: Army

5 March 2018
Rising Kashmir
Javid Ahmad

Srinagar: Army Monday said the individuals other than two militants killed in a brief gunfight at Pahnoo village of South Kashmir's Shopian district on Sunday night were civilians and their association with slain militants was a matter of investigation. 'It is a matter of investigation. There is a very thin line between civilian and Over Ground Worker (OGW). They were definitely civilians. It is a matter of investigation as to what extent they were involved in supporting the militants,' Brigadier Harbir Singh, Commander 12 RR told reporters at Army's 12 sector headquarters at Balapur, Shopian. Singh was responding to a query on pronouncement of civilians killed in army firing as OGWs by army, which evoked a contradiction from various political quarters. He said that there was no specific input about the movement of militants in the area yesterday. He said at around 8 pm yesterday, a Mobile Vehicle Check Post (MVCP) was deployed along road Trenz- Pinzoora near village Pohnoo when two speeding vehicles were seen approaching the MVCP location from Trenz side. 'The army men signalled the vehicles to stop. However, both the vehicles continued to move. When a searchlight was flashed towards the approaching vehicles, heavy firing came from both the vehicles. Troops fired back and in the ensuing gunfight, one militant firing from one of the vehicles was hit and he fell off the vehicle and the vehicle veered off the road towards the Nallah and the second vehicle sped off,' he said. The slain militant was identified as Amir Ahmad Malik of village Harmen village. He was active since July 2017.' Army said one AK-74 rifle, 3 magazines and 88 rounds were recovered from the slain militant. Three more persons, who were accompanying the militant, were also killed, the army said. The death toll in the incident rose to six after recovery of two more bodies-one of a militant and another civilian this morning. Defence spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia said body of another LeT militant AshiqHussainBhat of RakhKapar was found from apple orchards of village Saidpora. 'Bhat is who is also linked with the same chain of events at village Pohnoo,' he said. Kalia said the second vehicle that had fired at the Army was found in the morning near Pinjoora, Shopian where one more individual identified as Gowhar Ahmed Lone of Molu-Chitragam village of Shopian was found dead. The three civilians killed in army firing yesterday were identified as Suhail Ahmad Wagay (22) son Khalid Ahmad Wagay of Pinjora, Shahid Khan (21) son of Bashir Khan of Malikgund and ShahnawazWagay (23) son of Ali Mohammad of Moolu, Trenz. Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir S P Panitold Rising Kashmir that police was investigating the incident. Asked whether the slain civilians were OGWs or had no such links, IGP said, 'We are investigating it. They (civilians) were accompanying the militants'.