Encounter in Kashmir's Kulgam, 1 Army Jawan and 3 Civilians Killed

One armyman was killed and a civilian injured in an ongoing operation against militants by security forces in south Kashmir's Kulgam district on Wednesday.

Another youth was shot dead by the government forces following clashes in Khudwani area of Kulgam today taking the death toll to four, reports said.

"The operation has been called off after no militant bodies were retrieved from the debris of the blasted house", a police official said.

As the fighting raged, people poured out of their homes and pelted stones at the security forces even as two-to-three militants from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) reportedly remained holed up inside the house. "The gunfight is still underway", police said.

The locals alleged that the Army fired indiscriminately into the protesting crowds, but a statement issued by the police here said that the civilians were caught in crossfire. The sources said two to three militants managed to escape from the cordoned area. During the protests, a 28-year-old civilian Sharjeel Ahmad received bullet injuries in stomach and succumbed. It is not immediately known how the deceased got injured. "Among the 10 injured, eight with serious wounds were referred to Srinagar hospitals".

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In wake of Kulgam killings, authorities on Wednesday afternoon made a decision to snap mobile internet services in south Kashmir parts while as they asked the cellular companies to reduce mobile internet speed in district Srinagar as "a precautionary measure".

This is the second time that four civilians have been killed by security forces near encounter sites.

As the news of civilian deaths spread, protests broke out in several areas of north Kashmir including Baramulla, Bandipora and Sopore towns, officials said.

Meanwhile, separatists under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) called for a general strike tomorrow against the "civilian killings".