Two freedom fighters, Indian soldier killed in Kashmir shootout

Incident occurs when people in many parties of the world observe Kashmir Solidarity Day

Anadolu Agency February 05, 2020
Incident occurs amid strike marking Pakistan's Kashmir Solidarity Day. PHOTO: ANADOLU AGENCY

SRINAGAR: Two freedom fighters and an Indian soldier were killed in an alleged shootout on the outskirts of Srinagar on Wednesday, a police official said.

In a news conference, police chief Dilbagh Singh claimed the gun battle took place when three separatists travelling on a motorbike opened fire on a check post along a busy highway near Parimpora area.

“When stopped, one of the separatists got down and opened fire on the soldiers with a pistol," he said. "We returned fire."

He said that constable Ramesh Ranjan was killed after being hit in the head from a close range while two attackers were shot dead in the ensuing gunfight.

The third attacker, the police chief added, who was injured and caught alive, was shifted to hospital.

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Two pistols and two grenades were also recovered from the deceased, he said, adding that over 20 separatists and three security personnel had been killed in 2020 so far.

However, Hamida Bano, aunt of the injured man, Umer Fayaz Bhat, refuted the police chief's claim that he was a separatist.

She said that Umer owns a shop near the shootout site and was injured in crossfire.

The alleged gunfight occurred on the day when Pakistan and Kashmiris worldwide were observing Kashmir Solidarity Day, marked on February 5 every year, to extend moral support to people in the disputed region.

This year, the day was being observed in the backdrop of India's controversial decision to revoke the disputed state's autonomy.

On Aug. 5, 2019, the Modi government scrapped special provisions in the constitution, downgrading the status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir into two centrally administered Union Territories (UT), thus putting the two territories under its direct rule.