Three militants, soldier killed in two encounters

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26 people injured in Chadoora clashes, one security force man injured; SPO turned militant laid to rest in Pulwama

POST ENCOUNTER: Interior view of the mosque in Budgam village where two militants were hiding. PHOTO/ Abid Hussain

BY: Abid Hussain/Mir Zeeshan

Panzan (Budgam)/Pulwama, Sep 27: Two HM militants were killed in an encounter that broke out at around 4 am in Jamia Masjid Panzan on Thursday while as in Dooru area of south Kashmir, one LeT militant and a soldier were killed in a separate encounter.

An official said that a joint team of army, SOG and CRPF cordoned the local mosque where militants were believed to be trapped at late night. The militants were asked to surrender but they did not accept the offer.

The cordon soon turned into an encounter when fire was opened at around 4 am. Both sides exchanged fire for several hours and the encounter ended with the killing of two holed up militants.

Both the slain were identified as Irfan Ahmad Dar, son of Abdul Rasheed Dar, a resident of Loolipora Nehama, Pulwama and Sheeraz Ahmad Bhat, son of Mohammad Shaban Bhat, a resident of Kralwari Chadoora.

Sources said that Irfan was an SPO posted at police station Pampore when he decamped with a rifle before few months.

The three-floor Jamia Masjid Panzan suffered huge damage. Hundreds of bullet marks are visible on the walls and every window pane got smashed.

Massive clashes erupted in Panzan after news came about the trapped militants. Hundreds of protestors tried to march towards encounter site and resorted to heavy stone pelting. The forces responded by firing pellets and tear smoke canisters, resulting in injuries to 26 people.

The injured were shifted to Chadoora and Budgam hospitals. A Chadoora hospital official told Kashmir Images that they received 22 injured who had pellet injuries. Among them one was referred to Srinagar hospital for specialized treatment while others were treated there.

Budgam district hospital received four pellet injured persons who were referred to Srinagar hospitals for the specialised treatment, a health official said.

According to reports, few government forces were also injured in gunfight and clashes.

During encounter, locals were urged through loudspeakers to come out and help militants escape. Pro-freedom slogans were also raised.

Meanwhile, after forces left the spot, thousands of people thronged the Masjid which suffered damage in the encounter.

It was also witnessed that forces vehicles were heavily pelted with stones when they were leaving from the encounter site.

A spontaneous shutdown was observed in Panzan, Chadoora, Ichgam and Budgam areas. The internet facility also remained barred in the district.

Giving details about the encounter, a police spokesman, in a statement issued in the evening, said that security forces neutralized two militants identified as Sheeraz Ahmad Bhat resident of Kralwari Chadoora and Irfan Ahmad Dar resident of Kakapora Pulwama affiliated with HM. Irfan Ahmad Dar was working as SPO and had deserted a couple of months ago.

The spokesman said that militants fired on a search party from a nearby mosque and subsequently the area was cordoned off.

“The local Auqaf Committee was engaged to convince the terrorists to come out. Security forces also appealed  the terrorists to come out  However, the terrorists turned down the offer and consequently the operation had to be carried out in a deliberate manner keeping intact the sanctity of the mosque,” said the spokesman.

The spokesman confirmed that one security forces’ jawan also sustained bullet injuries and was evacuated to hospital for medical treatment.

In a separate encounter in Dooru area of south Kashmir, one LeT militant and a soldier were killed.

While giving the details about the encounter, a police spokesman, in a statement issued here today, said that police and security forces in the wee hours today launched a search operation at Gazi Gund Dooru in District Anantnag.

During the searches, encounter started between security forces and militants. In the ensuing encounter a local militant identified as Asif Malik who was operating as commander of LeT was eliminated, the spokesman said.

He said that the slain militant was was involved in several attacks on security forces including the killing of CRPF men  at Achabal this year and in many other cases of civilian atrocities. One security force Jawan identified as Happy Singh of 19 RR also attained got killed in the encounter.

Meanwhile, amid pro-freedom slogans Irfan Ahmad Dar SPO turned militant was laid to rest at his native village Nehama Kakpora on Thursday here.

Sources said Dar had joined militant ranks five months ago, when he was posted as SPO at Pampore and had decamped along with his service rifle.

Witnessed said, four rounds of funeral processions were observed for Dar before he was laid to rest.

They said that militants appeared during the funeral prayers of Dar and offered gun salute.

Dar was killed in an encounter today morning at Panzan village of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

Meanwhile, Pulwama town remained shut for the second consecutive day with shops and business establishments remaining shut.

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