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Shutdown in Kashmir to protest civilian killings

Shutdown in Kashmir to protest civilian killings

Shutdown in Kashmir to protest civilian killings

Two Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, identified as Amir Ahmed Malik and Ashiq Hussain Bhat, along with four others were killed in a gunfight after terrorists opened fire at mobile vehicle check post (MVCP) in South Kashmir's Shopian district.

The three civilians killed last night were identified as Suhail Ahmad Wagay (22) son Khalid Ahmad Wagay of Pinjora, Shahid Khan (19) son of Bashir Khan of Malikgund and ShahnawazWagay (22) son of Ali Mohammad of Moolu, Trenz. While the bodies of three civilians and one militant were recovered on Sunday evening, two bodies, one of a militant and other of a civilian, were recovered on Monday morning.

Four youths and two militants were found dead after a shootout involving army at Pahnoo, Shopian, on Sunday evening.

"JeM's operational commander Mufti Waqas has been eliminated in a surgical attack", Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.

He said troops also retaliated and during the search of the vehicle, bodies of a militant and three OGWs were recovered. After the police arrived, a vehicle was found at some distance in which three youths were found dead, the official said.

As the news about the civilian killings spread, protests erupted in various areas of Kashmir on Monday with people alleging that the army killed civilians "intentionally".

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"Varying accounts from the Chief Minister and the Security Forces on the incident are unfortunate and further perpetuate the sense of disenchantment, distrust and alienation", he said.

But thousands of demonstrators still clashed with police and troops across the territory, one police officer told AFP.

The killings have triggered outrage in the Valley.

Police said the investigation of the case has been taken up and bodies were handed over to the legal heirs. The authorities have ordered closure of schools and colleges whereas Kashmir University has announced postponement of examinations which were scheduled for Monday.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said she was "deeply distressed by more deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire in Shopian" and expressed her "heartfelt condolences to the deceased's families". Mobile and train services have also been suspended for security reasons. In major parts of the Srinagar city as well as major towns and villages of the Valley, restriction have been imposed.

Police arrested Syed Imtiyaz Hyder and forces in large numbers intercepted and not allow them to move towards Lal Chowk, a spokesman added. Scores of youth took to streets and clashed with the forces deployed in the area.

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