Roaring gunfire created chaos on the busy road of Rambagh in the uptown Srinagar city on Tuesday evening when people were busy in their normal activities as the government forces killed three people in a brief shootout.
After the shootout, the Jammu and Kashmir police, in a tweet, claimed to have killed three militants. “Police neutralised three terrorists in Srinagar. Identification and affiliation of the killed terrorists is being ascertained. Further details shall follow,” the police said.
However, the eyewitnesses, who were at the spot, claimed that the trio were killed in “cold blood” as if they were militants and had weapons they would have retaliated. They said if the police had any suspicion over them they could have arrested them.
“Three men were standing on the road when Kashmir police came and fired indiscriminately. At first we could not understand what was going on,” said an eyewitness.
“One among the three ran towards a nearby narrow lane [amid the gunshots]. He was taken back to the road and fired until he died and then they took away the bodies,” said the eyewitness.
Eyewitness added that there was “no retaliation to the firing, they had no weapon and if they had a weapon they would have fired in self defence”.
“They [the trio] were standing near a load carrier. There was no suspected situation. If they [police] had any suspicion over them they could have arrested them,” eyewitnesses added.
The police have not shared details about the recovery of weapons from the shootout site till this report was filed. The Kashmir Walla has written to the Inspector General of Police if they had recovered weapons. The story will be updated if and when he replies.
Another eyewitness, who was having tea outside a nearby hotel, at the time of the incident told The Kashmir Walla that “at around 05:05 pm the gunshots created chaos as a cop in civvies wearing blue jacket were firing with a pistol on a vehicle and after that we found two bodies. At a distance of nearly 100 meters another body was lying below the flyover.”
He said, “police immediately covered their bodies lying on the road with tarpaulin sheets and were taken away in a police vehicle.”
The shootout was followed by stone throwing and anti-government slogans by a small group of people.
IGP Vijay Kumar identified one of the killed as Mehran, a top TRF (The Resistance Front) commander, who is accused of killing two teachers and other civilians in the capital city in October this year.
Local media while quoting the IGP said, “Police were after him [Mehran] for a long time especially after his name came up in connection with the killing of two teachers and other civilians recently.”
In the past one and half months, attacks on civilians intensified as nearly 14 civilians were killed, among them two were killed by the Central Reserve Police Force allegedly after they jumped security checkpoint in south Kashmir.
The spurt of killings in the region by suspected militants has created havoc as nearly 32 civilians have been killed in the region this year.
As per the sources, two others killed in the shootout have been identified as Arfat Ahmad and Manzoor Ahmad. Meanwhile, an Aadhaar card with blood marks, viral on social media, claimed to be recovered from the shootout site has Manzoor Ahmad written on it and is believed to have been killed.
It was the second such incident in the last three months.
Earlier in August, the government forces killed Abbas Sheikh, a key militant commander of TRF and architect of its many high-profile attacks along with his associate Saqib Manzoor in Alouchi Bagh area of Srinagar.