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Kashmir: Militant groups offer 'gun salutes' to their fallen comrades

19 June 2017

Suspected rebels in India-administered Kashmir ambushed and shot dead six policemen on Friday even as Indian soldiers killed two civilians and two rebels in a separate gun battle, officials and local media said.

Two terrorists, Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Junaid Mattoo and his aide, have been gunned down by the Indian Army, Special Operations Group and CRPF in an encounter in Kulgam this Friday. Army has been called out to undertake a combing operation in the area.

All the policemen, including Ahmed, died on the spot, senior police officials said.

Forces, however, razed at least three houses to ground and managed to neutralize all the three militants. The militant organization Lashkar-e-Toiba claimed responsibility of the one of the deadliest attacks on the police in recent times.

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The first incident took place in Arwani village located in south Kashmir's Kilgam district.

According to the police, Junaid was a district commander and involved in a number of terror activities, including three attacks on policemen. "In the firing exchange Naik Bakhtawar Singh was grievously injured and succumbed to his injuries while being evacuated to the military hospital".

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has expressed deep anguish over the killing of two civilians and two policemen across Kashmir valley during the past 24 hours.

During yesterday's encounter, two civilians were also killed. He was involved in the killing of a police constable on Thursday in Kulgam's Bogund area and also in the killing of an assistant sub-inspector and a constable near a bus stand in Anantnag a year ago, police said.

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A guerrilla war has been going on between militants and Indian troops stationed in the region since 1989.

Confirming the two deaths, DGP SP Vaid said: "Security forces have no choice but to retaliate when militants fire at them". In the retaliatory action by forces, two young protesters were killed while more than two dozen were injured.

All shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley remained closed while public transport was off the roads in response to the shutdown called by separatist leaders against killing of civilians by security personnel.

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