Abid Hussain

Two LeT militants killed in Budgam forest area

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Clashes erupt, internet services suspended

Zoogu (Budgam), Nov 01: Two militants were killed in a gunfight that broke out at around 4: 30 am in Zoogu forest area, some 28 Kms from central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Thursday.

Locals told Kashmir Images that encounter took place in a perfume manufacturing unit, lying in a forest area of Khansahib in Budgam.

They said that after the exchange of fire between trapped militants and government forces, perfume unit was set on fire, resulting in killing of two militants.

Police spokesman identified one of the slain militants as Mukhtar Ahmad Khan son of Abdul Ahad Khan, a resident of Brass Arizal, while the other was identified as Mohammad Amin Mir son of Ghulam Rasool Mir, a resident of Drangbal Pampore.

He said that one army personnel was also injured in the encounter who was taken to hospital for the treatment.

Soon after the gunfight, intense clashes erupted between protesters and government forces.

Raising pro-freedom slogans, dozens of youth pelted stones at forces who retaliated by firing tear gas canisters, eye witnesses said.

After the bodies were retrieved, they were taken to Arizal army camp. A large number of people marched towards camp and clashed with forces.

Later, bodies of militants were given to their family members for the last rites.

In the native village of slain Budgam militant, thousands of people participated in his funeral procession.

Meanwhile, locals alleged that forces beat several youth and smashed window panes of a house here.

While taking to media persons after the encounter, Commanding Officer 53 RR, A K Nair said, “We’ve been tracking a group [of militants) in this particular area for some time.”

He added that after receiving an input from police about the presence of militants, operation was launched.

Police in a statement said that a search operation was launched on Thursday morning jointly by army and police.

“In Zagoo area of Khansahib, district Budgam, search operation was launched today morning jointly by a team of police and security forces based on credible inputs about the presence of militants in the area.

“During search operation, hiding militants fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter. In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed,” police statement said.

Meanwhile, internet services were snapped in the whole district from today morning. Also, a spontaneous shutdown was observed in Arizal, Khag, Beerwah and Khansahib areas of Budgam district.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by police said that the dead bodies of the two terrorists were retrieved from the site of encounter along with arms and ammunition. One of the killed militant has been identified as Mukhtar Ahmad Khan son of Abdul Ahad Khan, a resident of Brass Arizal Budgam while the other has been identified as Mohd Amin Mir son of Ghulam Rasool Mir resident of Drangbal Pampore.

“They were both involved in a series of  militant attacks on security establishments in the area. Mukhtar was involved in case FIR No 37/2018 under section 307 RPC, 7/27 Arms Act, 16/18 ULAP Act dated 25.03.2018 in Budgam, while Mohd Amin was involved in case FIR No 75/2018 under section 18/20/30 ULAP Act at PS Pampore,” said the statement.

In the encounter one army jawan also sustained injuries and was evacuated to hospital for medical attention. He is stated to be stable. Police has registered a case and investigation has started.

“Citizens are once again requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any,” the statement added.

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