Kashmir: Militant groups offer 'gun salutes' to their fallen comrades

After the encounter, two civilians were also killed after security forces opened fire at a crowd marching towards the encounter site.

The Kashmir Valley saw a spate of violence on Friday as 14 people were killed in three separate incidents.

In 2016, Mattoo killed two police officials in Anantnag with a video of him fleeing the spot with an AK 47 going viral. Mattoo was killed along with two associates in an encounter with security forces in neighbouring Arwani village on Friday.

Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid said militants are attacking police personnel out of frustration since state police has been playing an active role in anti-militancy operations in the state.

Reacting to the horrific attack, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted today terming it as "an act of cowardice". Large deployments were made in all sensitive locations in Srinagar and parts of south Kashmir.

The separatists' shutdown and the authorities' restrictions impacted daily life in the Kashmir Valley on Saturday. Soon Army and police cordoned off the area but the militants escaped. In the morning itself, a civilian identified as Mohammad Ashraf Khar, 34, was killed in the crossfire between the forces and the militants.

Friday's attack comes despite an alert issued by police in wake of an increase in militant attacks in districts especially south of Srinagar.

Police officials said militants in the region have been targeting policemen guarding houses of politicians and other protected people to snatch rifles, in wake of a weapons shortage within the militant ranks. He had a meteoric rise within the Lashkar group and was appointed commander for South Kashmir after he gunned down two policemen in broad daylight at Anantnag bus stand in June previous year. They attacked the vehicle carrying the six police officials in Thajiwara Achabla in Anantnag.

"Acting on specific information, police along with 1 RR and 90 Bn CRPF launched an operation in Makro Mohalla of Arwani Bijbehara". In a reprisal attack on police, LeT militants ambushed a police jeep and killed six policemen, including a Station House Officer, and disfigured their bodies.

  • Leroy Wright