In Shopian, woman hit by pellets as govt forces withdraw from gunfight

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A 35-year-old woman was injured after metal-pellets were fired upon her by the government forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday, one of her family members and doctors treating her told The Kashmir Walla.

Zareefa Bano was lying on a bed in the emergency ward of Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS) as her brother, Mohammad Maqbool, sat beside her. “The army came at 11 am,” he said of the government forces’ withdrawal from a gunfight site in Melhoora village of Shopian. “After ten to twenty vehicles passed, they opened fire from the last vehicle.”

The brother-sister duo were standing on the otherwise deserted roadside, Mr. Maqbool said, when “they shot her”. “We couldn’t understand the reason. Stone pelting was happening a bit far, near the encounter site,” he added. 

Mother of two minor children, Ms. Bano was taken to Sub district hospital Bijbehara, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag, Dr. B. S. Tulla told The Kashmir Walla that “Zareefa was brought here at 12 pm”. “[She has] pellet injury on the left of her neck and has been referred to SKIMS at about 12:30 pm,” he added.

Medical Superintendent of the SKIMS, Dr. Farooq Jan, confirmed Ms. Bano’s admission at the hospital. “She is stable and is being treated right now,” he told The Kashmir Walla.

Earlier, on Monday, a gunfight had broken out between militants and the government forces in the village, nearly two kilometers away from the residence of Ms. Bano. In the overnight operation by a joint team of the police, army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), two militants were killed.

On asking about the injured woman, the Station House Officer, Zainapora, Basharat Ali, told The Kashmir Walla: “I’m not aware of exact details. please contact SDPO.” After calling the Sub-District Police Officer (SDPO), Amir Qazi, Zainapora, he said: “I’m not aware about it. I don’t have details … I don’t have any report on this. Melhoora is under my jurisdiction, but we haven’t received any such report so far.”

Additional reporting and text by Yashraj Sharma.

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