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Civilian dies in south Kashmir gunfight


Srinagar : Angry protests by villagers following the death of a civilian in a south Kashmir gunfight Sunday forced the authorities to call off an operation in Kalampora village of Pulwama district.

A senior police officer said Mushtaq Ahmad, 33, died during the fierce gunfight that started after security forces surrounded a house in Kalampora village, about 50 km from here, on a specific information about presence of two Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen guerrillas inside it.

“As the troops challenged the holed up militants to surrender, they opened fire at the security forces triggering a gun battle,” the officer said.

Villagers say Mushtaq Ahmad was allegedly shot by the soldiers while the gun battle was on in the village, a charge denied by the police.

The death of the civilian led to protests during the siege which was lifted by the security forces and thus enabled the two holed up guerrillas to reportedly escape from the house.

Carrying the body on their shoulders and shouting anti-India slogans, the villagers refused to bury the body. Senior state government officers have reached the village where tension is running high.