Five civilians were killed and over 40 were left injured in an explosion and clashes with security forces following an encounter in south Kashmir's Kulgam district, CNN-News18 reported.
The explosion took place when some civilians rushed to the encounter site in Laroo area of Kulgam despite security personnel prohibiting them citing the search and combing operation at the spot.
The police said civilians visited the encounter site after the forces withdrew from the spot.
"Civilians visited the encounter site immediately after the operation in spite of (our) request not to go there as a thorough search is to be made for explosives once flames douse. They did not listen and visited the spot immediately after the forces withdrew.
"Some explosive substance went off, resulting in injuries to civilians. One civilian namely Ubaid Laway, a resident of Laroo, died in the incident," the police official added.
"We request civilians not to visit the site again," Jammu and Kashmir police appealed.
The toll, however, rose to five, when two more civilians succumbed to their injuries at District Hospital in Kulgam while two others who had received firearm injuries during clashes succumbed at SMHS. Some of the injured civilians have sustained critical injuries, according to doctors in the Kulgam District Hospital, IANS said.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah condemned the incident on Twitter. He said:
Terrible news coming out from Kulgam.May the deceased find place in Jannat.Alienating the people in the fight against militancy is a sure fire recipe for losing the fight. How long can we go on ignoring the ground realities & living in denial about how bad things are in Kashmir? https://t.co/p5c4aoN6Tb
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 21, 2018
Prior to the explosion, security forces had launched a cordon and search operation in Laroo area of Kulgam district in south Kashmir following specific information about the presence of militants in the area, he said.
As the forces were conducting the searches, the ultras fired upon them, triggering the encounter, the official said. While the security forces neutralised three militants holed up in a house, two security personnel were also injured.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Oct 21, 2018 14:55 PM