A woman who police said was “unfortunately” killed in “cross firing” during an overnight gunfight between forces and militants Monday in Kupwara district was laid to rest amid pro-freedom slogans and protests.
Hundreds of people participated in Misra’s funeral prayers and chanted pro-freedom slogans as she was laid to rest in Younisu village.
The police said three “unidentified” Lashhker-e-Toiba militants were killed in an encounter after forces laid siege to Mir Mohalla locality of Unisoo village around 12:30 am.
“During search operation, the militants hiding in the house of Abdul Hamid Mir fired upon the joint search party. The fire was retaliated, ensuing an encounter. Three unidentified militants of LeT were killed in this encounter. The identity of these militants is being ascertained,” a police spokesman said.
“One lady got injured in the cross firing and unfortunately she succumbed to her injuries,” the spokesman said.
DIG North Kashmir V K Birdi said that the woman was killed in “cross firing” as she tried to escape from the house where the militants were trapped.
“Three terrorists, all seemingly from Pakistan, were neutralised by a joint team of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Rajasthan Rifles and the Central Reserve Police Force in Unisoo, Handwara. It was raining through the night, and our boys had to operate in the cold,” tweeted police chief SP Vaid.
Soon after Misra’s killing, local residents shouting pro-freedom slogans held protests against the forces .
Opposition National Conference said the government should probe the circumstances that led to Misra’s death and provide ex-gratia aid to her family while various pro-freedom leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Geelani condemned “the brutal killing by government forces.”
An official spokesman said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was “grieved over the death of a woman during a search operation in Handwara today.”