Kashmir Toll Rises: Soldier, Civilians Die in Ongoing Encounter

Security forces in Kashmir

Four civilians and an armyman were killed while dozens of others, including two soldiers, were injured in an encounter between militants and security forces and subsequent clashes in Khudwani area of south Kashmir's Kulgam district on Wednesday.

Protesters pelting stones at the security forces even as two-to-three LeT militants reportedly remained holed up inside the house.

The encounter, as per police reports, was triggered late Tuesday night in Wani Mohalla locality of Khudwani, following a cordon and search operation to locate militants hiding in the area. Meanwhile, a civilian was also injured as mob pelted stones on security forces.

Sarjeel Ahmad (25), Faisal Ilahi (14) and Bilal Ahamad Tantray (16) succumbed to injuries at a hospital, they said.

Earlier, clashes erupted in Khudwani area with hundreds of people trying to march towards the encounter site to help terrorists escape. Rao, who is survived by his parents, had joined the Army in 2012, a defence spokesman here said.

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At least 65 people were injured in the alleged firing by government forces, among whom four succumbed to their injuries.

He said two more army personnel were injured and shifted to hospital for treatment.

A police spokesperson said three civilians were killed in the "cross-fire" between militants and security forces. The killings had paralysed life in the Valley for around a week. Sources said that the terrorists have managed to escape from the encounter site during the counter-insurgency operation.

Reports emanating from the ground said houses and shops were also set ablaze after heavy explosives were used to combat the militants.

In the meantime, mobile internet services have been pending in Kulgam and Anantnag districts of South Kasmir. The joint separatist leadership is expected to mobilise protesters to agitate against the civilian killings.

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