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11 including 07 civilians dead in Kashmir's Pulwama

Saturday's bloodshed capped the deadliest year in the region since 2009, with nearly 550 killed so far including some 150 civilians

Saturday December 15, 2018 5:08 PM, ummid.com News Network

Kashmir Pulwama Civilian Deaths

[A civilian injured in Pulwama clashes succumbs at SMHS hospital on Saturday. (Photo: Aman Farooq/Greater Kashmir)]

Srinagar: Seven civilians were killed as Indian troops fired on protesters Saturday after a gunfight left three armed militants and a soldier dead in the Pulwama district of Kashmir, police and hospital officials said.

The fighting erupted soon after troops laid siege to a house in the southern Pulwama area in Kashmir where the militants were hiding, a police officer said.

Three armed militants -- including a former soldier who had joined the rebels -- then jumped out of the house into an orchard to fight the soldiers and were killed. The fighting also left a soldier of the Indian army dead, senior police officer Swayam Prakash Pani told AFP.

The gunfight broke out in Kharpora Sirnoo village after the government forces launched a cordon-and-search-operation following a tip-off about the presence of militants.

Though the encounter ended in 25 minutes with the killing of the three militants, the security forces had a tough time as people started climbing onto Army vehicles, the officials said.

They said warning shots were fired but that did not deter the mob, forcing the security forces to open fire at the civilians. Seven civilians were killed and dozens others injured, including a youth who's condition was stated to be critical, according to PTI.

While the gunfight was in progress, hundreds of villagers poured out on to the streets in freezing cold and marched towards the orchard, shouting slogans in support of the militants and throwing stones at the troops, witnesses said.

"It was mayhem. Six protesters died in the ensuing firing by soldiers," a police officer told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Hospital officials said a seventh man died later of gunshot wounds.

Dozens of protestors were also injured in the clashes with government forces, another police officer said.

Authorities suspended mobile internet services in many areas of the restive territory, including in the main city of Srinagar. A large number of students also held protests against the killings. Protests spread to the old quarters of Srinagar and the northwestern town of Sopore.

Saturday's bloodshed capped the deadliest year in the region since 2009, with nearly 550 killed so far including some 150 civilians, according to a monitoring group.

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