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3 militants killed in Shopian encounter, soldier injured

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Shopian, Jan 22: Three militants were Tuesday killed in an encounter with government forces in Shopian district of south Kashmir, police said. An Army soldier was also injured in the encounter.

Reports said that the gunfight broke out in Shirmal village of Shopian Tuesday morning after a joint party of the army and the police launched a cordon-and-search-operation following inputs about the presence of militants there.

They said as the search party zeroed in on the hideout located in an orchard and fired few shots towards it, the militants also opened fire on the government forces. After a momentary lull, firing between the two sides resumed during which three militants were killed while an army soldier sustained injuries.

The bodies of the slain militants were recovered along with as many weapons and other arms and ammunition after the government forces blasted the hideout, sources said.

Independent reports suggested that four militants were trapped and one of them reportedly managed to flee. However, there was no official confirmation to it.

Official sources said Shamsul Haq Mengnoo, son of Mohammad Rafiq Mengnoo, a resident of Draggud village of Shopian district, was among the slain militants, reported news agency GNS.

Shamsul Haq was pursuing Bachelors of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) when he joined militancy. His elder brother Inamul Haq is 2012 IPS batch officer who is posted in North East. The identity of the two other militants is being ascertained, official sources said.

A police official confirmed the killing of three militants but refused to comment about the escape of the fourth militant, saying the operation is still underway.

Regarding identification of Shamsul Haq, the officer said it was being ascertained even as inputs suggested his presence when the operation was launched.

Meanwhile, former police Chief Shesh Paul Vaid on Tuesday said that Hizb militant Shamsul Haq met a “sad end” despite efforts by his IPS officer brother to bring him back.

Taking to Twitter soon after the news of his killing in Shopian gunfight started doing the rounds, Vaid, who was the director general of police in J&K when Haq turned to militancy, said: “I remember the efforts that were made by his (Haq’s) brother /other family members and J&K Police to bring him back to mainstream but he met a sad end today.”

4 photojournalists injured after forces fire pellets during Shopian clashes

Srinagar, Jan 22: Four photojournalists were injured while covering clashes between the protesters and the government forces near the site of a gunfight in southern Shopian district on Tuesday.

Reports said that four photojournalists were hit by pellets fired by the forces’ personnel near the site of the gunfight in Shirmal area of Shopian.

One of the injured journalists was identified as Waseem Andrabi who works with ‘Hindustan Times’ newspaper. He was hit by pellets in his face, said a witness.

Intense clashes erupted in the area soon after the gunfight broke out in the village.

Witnesses said the forces fired tear gas and pellets to disperse the youth who were pelting them with stones.

Meanwhile, police said that eleven people, including six forces’ personnel, were injured in clashes near the site of a gunfight in Shopian district on Tuesday.

“Pertinent to mention that it was a difficult operation due to the terrain and there were clashes in the area which was handled by the security forces,” a police spokesman said in a statement.

He said “only five cases of injuries were reported and three of them were discharged after preliminary medical attention.”

“Separately, six security forces’ personnel injured during the clashes have been discharged after medical attention,” said the spokesman.

“Although this was a day-long operation, the effort of SFs and cooperation of citizen did not result in any significant injuries or collateral damage,” he claimed.

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