J&K: 2 LeT militants, 4 others gunned down in Shopian crossfire

J&K: 2 LeT militants, 4 others gunned down in Shopian crossfire

J&K: 2 LeT militants, 4 others gunned down in Shopian crossfire

Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said two militants, one at the site of the shootout and another in an orchard, and four civilians were killed around 8 pm on Sunday "when a mobile vehicle check-post near Pohan in Shopian signalled a auto to stop but the driver refused to comply".

"Even if civilians were travelling in a vehicle and unintentionally followed the auto in which militants were travelling, the Army could have saved their lives by retaliating with caution", Nazir Ahmad, a Shopian resident, told BenarNews. The identities of the civilians killed during the clash are being ascertained, the police said.

An Army spokesperson claimed the youths were overground militant workers, but local residents claimed they were civilians travelling in the auto, according to Greater Kashmir.

On Sunday, the Army had said that a militant and three OGWs were killed when militants opened fire on a checkpost after they were asked to stop. After the police arrived, a vehicle was found at some distance in which three youths were found dead, the official said. They said the civilians were passing by the area in their vehicles and they were killed by the Army.

Protests also broke out in Shopian's neighbouring Anantnag and Pulwama districts and Badgam in central Kashmir where youths clashed with the security forces. The overnight killings have triggered a serious crisis across Kashmir. In a tweet, Mufti said she was "deeply distressed by more deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire in Shopian". "Police has reached the spot and started legal formalities", a statement from the army said.

They were stopped and taken into preventive custody, the officials said.

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The mobile internet services have been shut across South Kashmir while high-speed internet has been stopped across the valley.

"Most of these killings have taken place in the Shopian district where around eight civilians, young men and teenagers have been killed including a 17 year old girl Saima Wani", he said in a statement issued to Brighter Kashmir.

The body of Gowhar Ahmad Lone, 24, of Molu Chitragam, Shopian, was found around 250 meters away from the site at Pahnoo.

Police arrested Syed Imtiyaz Hyder and forces in large numbers intercepted and not allow them to move towards Lal Chowk, a spokesman added.

Schools, which were to reopen after three-month-long of winter break on Monday, were closed again till March 7.

The operation was still underway and security forces were searching the area.

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