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Army launches operation in Handwara forests

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Srinagar: Reports suggested that security forces are engaged in a gun battle with militants in the forests of Kupwara district, in a first counter-militancy operation since the Centre announced a conditional suspension of operations during Ramzan.

The encounter broke out in Haphruda forests in Handwara area of Kupwara in north Kashmir, an Army official said.

Meanwhile, a local news agency, GNS, quoting unnamed army reported that three infiltrating militants were killed in a gunfight in Vilgam tehsil of Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Quoting an unnamed army official, GNS news agency reported that the soldiers of 15 RR intercepted a group of militants believed to be infiltrators in Brinjal forest adjacent to Shahnagar Jat Gali, around seven kilometres from Tehsil headquarter Vilgam.

The Centre had on May 16 announced that security forces will not launch any operations in J and K during the holy month of Ramzan, but they reserve the right to retaliate if attacked.

Union Home Ministry officials had said that the move was not a concession to the extremists, but an effort to create an environment free of terror and violence during the holy month and there will be no lowering of guard.

They had said that the security forces, however, reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people.

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