Chaigund Encounter: The Complete Story

by Saima Bhat

SRINAGAR: After the encounter is over in Chaigund village of Shopian that killed two militants and a teenage civilian, three more civilians, including the sister of one of the slain militants, are battling for their lives in SKIMS hospital.

Sources in the hospital said, Saima Wani, 18,  had received a bullet in her head. The bullet after breaking her skull bone has entered her brain region. She is battling for her life in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and is on the ventilator. Another girl Bhat Sami, 20, who also had received a bullet on her head has been operated upon and is said to be stable.

Another injured, a boy, Najar Mushaira Fayaz, 12, who was injured on Thursday at the encounter site when a live shell exploded, received an injury with trauma in the head ‘with both his eyes shattered, intra-ventricular haemorrhage’ and hand injury. Doctors say he too continues to be critical.

On Wednesday evening, at around 4 PM, when the locals in Chaigund area were going to call it a day, news broke out that the area has been cordoned off and an encounter has started in the area. As the newsrooms were yet to confirm the reports, the inputs started pouring in that a bullet hit a civilian’s chest and two girls had received bullets in their heads.

The picture became clearer once the encounter was finally over with the killing of two militants: Sameer Ahmad from the same Chaigund village who was active just for the last four months and another from a nearby village, Firdous Ahmad from Ganowpora Shopian, who was active since 2016 summer unrest. Both the slain militants were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen. The encounter caught the in a two-storey residential house which was razed to the ground during the gun-battle.

As per the police statement, the joint party of Police Shopian, 44 RR and 14 Bn CRPF, working on the specific input of presence of militants in the areas, laid a cordon at Chaigund area. The hiding militants under the clad of Burka tried to break the cordon and fired indiscriminately at the search party. The forces retaliated during which Burka-clad militants were forced to go back into hiding. During indiscriminate firing by the militants and the retaliatory fire one civilian namely Shakir Ahmad Mir resident of Kalampora Pulwama got killed and two ladies namely Sabreena Jan and Sumi Jan, both the residents of Keegam Shopian received bullet injuries.

But the police sources told Kashmir Life that the injuries were not as a result of law and order situation as was initially reported. “All the reported injuries were above waist which means they were fired in haste. You must understand when a person fires from opposite site, we have to fire in defence,” said a police official.

Meanwhile, he informed when the cordon was laid in the village and residents were asked to come out of their houses, militants too came out and the locals tried to give them space to flee. “One of the militants, Sameer, was a local and the house in which the encounter started belonged to his neighbour, so you can understand how locals would have tried to save them.” Police official said, “But the forces were quick to recognise the militants who started firing and then forces started firing. In that haste cross firing the three civilians were injured.”

All the three injured were rushed to a nearby PHC in Rajpora, where civilian Shakir Ahmad Mir, 17, a resident of Qalampora, in Shopian, who had received a bullet in his chest, was declared brought dead and the two girls were referred to SMHS and then to SKIMS for specialised treatment.

The injured girls: Sumi Jan daughter of Ghulam Hassan Bhat, was a resident of the house in which the encounter took place and another girl Saima daughter of Hilal Ahmad, who was a sister of HM militant Sameer Wani who was killed in the encounter.

The clashes erupted soon after the encounter broke out between the forces and militants in Chaigund area of district Shopian.

Next day, on Thursday, the entire belt of villages were busy with the funerals of civilian Shakir and militant Sameer. An eyewitness said thousands of people reached the Odoo village early morning despite a shutdown to take part in the last rites of Wani.

“To accommodate the massive rush of people, the funeral prayers were held at least five times,” he said.

And at the encounter site, where locals had gathered and were clearing the debris, Najar Mushaira Fayaz, 12, was critically injured after a live shell exploded.  He is a resident of Daramdar, Shopian.

He was immediately shifted to Pulwama district hospital where from he was referred to SKIMS Soura in serious conditions.

As the last reports came in, the twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama were witnessing shutdown with internet services snapped. Not much of the movement was reported from the areas.

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