Civilian killed as forces open fire on protesters

Civilian killed as forces  open fire on protesters

A civilian was killed as clashes erupted after security forces launched Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in south Kashmir's Shopian district on Tuesday evening.

Sources said that the army, CRPF and the special operations group (SOG) of the police cordoned off Ganowpora village in Shopian, 52 km from here, after inputs about the presence of militants there. However, civilians, mostly youth took to streets and pelted stones on security forces to help the militants escape from the cordon.

As the clashes intensified and it became difficult for forces to carry on searches they reportedly opened fire on protesters injuring one Aadil Magray, following which he was rushed to District Hospital Shopian, they said.
However, a health official said that Adil was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. Several other protesters were also injured during the clashes which were going on till late in the evening.

Stone pelting protests at encounter sites has emerged as a major problem for security forces in Kashmir in the last one year forcing Army Chief General Bipin Rawat to issue a warning in February that the civilian protesters obstructing encounters, would be treated as “over ground workers of terrorists” and dealt with “harshly.”

However, despite warnings and new strategies, security forces continue to face stiff resistance from local population during encounters with militants across Kashmir. The trend, which emerged from south Kashmir in 2014, gained momentum across Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani by security forces in July last year.

“More than 30 militants have managed to flee the cordon in more than a dozen encounters in the last few months due to the civilians marching towards encounter sites and pelting stones. In some cases, the army is forced to withdraw the cordon to avoid collateral damage,” a senior police official told DH.

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