Civilian killed after forces open fire on protesters

Reports said the Army, the Jammu and Kashmir police and the paramilitary CRPF Monday morning cordoned off 20 villages in southern Pulwama district to nab the militants.

A civilian was killed and two others suffered injuries during clashes between protesters and security forces at Gusoo village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday.
 
Reports said the clashes erupted during a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) in Gusoo. As security forces were moving in the area, protesters tried to disrupt the CASO by throwing stones at them. 
 
The forces, they said, responded by firing tear gas, pellets and bullets, in which a youth identified as Fayaz Wani received serious head injury. He was rushed to SMHS hospital in Srinagar, where doctors declared him brought dead.
 
Two more protesters received pellet wounds and have been hospitalized, reports said.  When reports last came in the clashes were going on.
 
The clashes erupted at number of places in southern district after security forces launched massive anti-militancy operations in 20 villages of Pulwama Monday morning.
 
The coordinated offensive against militants by the security forces was launched in the backdrop of increasing incidents of attacks on police and political workers. Assisted by drones, hundreds of troops and policemen were carrying house-to-house searches in Rohmu, Below, Mitrigam, Gasu, Chek, Mirgund,  Chek, Sheikhpora, Hanjan, Frasipura and Kamrazipura villages of Pulwama, reports added.
 
Sources said the search operation began following reports about presence of militants in these villages. However, so far, there have been no reports of any exchange of fire from any of these villages.
 
This is not the first such operation in south Kashmir undertaken by the security forces. “The operation is a routine anti-militancy and area domination exercise. Such operations will continue as we have inputs about the presence of dozens of militants in the area,” an army official said.
 
After summer unrest of 2016, militant outfits, especially indigenous Hizb-ul-Mujahideen have strengthened their ranks and militants have surfaced in open several times in south Kashmir to garner support from the people.
 
Also, militants have been seen roaming around freely in villages of South Kashmir, attracting the attention of the youth. A senior police officer said militants have constructed a narrative of heroism around Hizbul commander Burhan Wani’s pursuits and killing in July 2016.
 
According to a report compiled by J&K police, the number of listed militants in Kashmir has crossed 300 for the first time in nearly a decade. Last year 126 locals picked up guns - which was the highest number since 2010 and this year till August over 130 have joined the militant ranks, the report reveals.
 
Of the listed 327 militants, it says, 181 are active in the volatile south Kashmir districts. “Most of the locals joining militancy belong to four south Kashmir districts of Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag. The militant handlers are using social media to reach out the Internet-savvy youth of the Valley with their ‘jihad obligation’ message,” a senior police officer said.

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Civilian killed after forces open fire on protesters

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