Srinagar: Eight civilians were on Saturday killed in clashes between the locals and security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir after three Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) terrorists were neutralised in an encounter during wee hours. A soldier was also martyred in the exchange of fire in Sirnoo village.

In protest against the killing of the Hizbul terrorists, locals took to road and launched pelted stones at security forces. Meanwhile, internet services remain suspended in Pulwama. Furthermore, the rail services between Kashmir Valley and Bannihal town in Jammu region have also been cancelled.

List of Deceased Civilians:

1. Amir Ahmad Paul
2. Shahid Ahmad Khanday
3. Abid Hussian Lone
4. Ishfaq Ahmad
5. Shahbaz Ali
6. Liyaqat Ahmad
7. Tawseef Ahmad Mir
8. Jahangir Ahmad

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter to condemn the killing of civilians. She posted, “How long are we going to shoulder the coffins of our youngsters? So many civilians killed today post encounter in Pulwama. No country can win a war by killing its own people. I strongly condemn these killings , and once again appeal for efforts, to stop this blood bath.”

Former CM Omar Abdullah lambasted Governor Satya Pal Malik for not being able to restore peace in troubled Valley. He tweeted, “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.”

An Army man who had deserted along a service rifle in 2017 and joined Hizbul Mujahideen was one among the three terrorists killed. He has been identified as Ahmed Thokar. The identities of the other two slain militants were being ascertained, 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. During the operation, the terrorists opened fire on them which was retaliated by the forces.