Srinagar: Three Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists were killed and one soldier martyred in an encounter which broke out during wee hours of Saturday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Further, eight civilians were killed, and 50 others, wounded in a subsequent clash in the area, out of which nine are said to be critically injured.

The authorities have suspended mobile internet in Pulwama and rail services between the Kashmir Valley and Bannihal town in the Jammu region were cancelled. Former J&K chief Minister in a tweet attacked the state administration and claimed that it was not working on restoring peace in the valley.

“The administration of Governor Malik has one task & one task only – to focus on the security of the people of J&K & restore peace to a troubled valley. Sadly it appears that’s the only thing the administration is not doing. Publicity campaigns & full page ads don’t bring peace,” Omar Abdullah tweeted.

Ahmed Thokar, the army man who had deserted along a service rifle in 2017 and joined Hizbul Mujahideen was one among the three terrorists killed. Clashes erupted at encounter site as youths took on streets pelted stones on security forces

The identities of the other two slain militants were being ascertained, the police said. However, killed civilians have been identified as Amir Ahmad Paul, Shahid Ahmad khanday, Abid Hussian lone, Ishfaq Ahmad, Shahbaz Ali , Liyaqat Ahmad and Tawseef ahmad Mir.

Two youths, identified as Amir Ahmad and Abid Hussain, sustained gunshot injuries in the clashes which erupted at the gunfight site between protesting civilians and the security forces. Ahmad and Hussain were shifted to a hospital, although, they were declared dead on arrival. Three other youths were also injured in the clashes, the police said.

The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Sirnoo village in Pulwama district of south Kashmir after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of militants in the area, a police official said. He said as the forces were conducting searches, the militants opened fire on them. The forces retaliated, leading to an encounter, the official said.

(With agency inputs)