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Kulgam encounter: Police officer, soldier, 3 JeM militants killed

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Three protestors injured

DGP shoulders the coffin of slain police officer after a wreath laying ceremony in Srinagar. Photo/Javed Khan

Srinagar, Feb 24: A deputy superintendent of police, an army soldier and three Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants were killed in an encounter in Kulgam district of south Kashmir on Sunday, officials said.

The encounter took place in the Turigam area of Kulgam after the police got an intelligence input about the presence of a group of militants in the area, they said.

A joint team of Army’s 34 RR, CRPF and SOG of police launched cordon and search operation, during which it was fired upon by the militants. Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Aman Thakur got seriously injured in the neck during the initial assault. The officer succumbed to his injuries when he was being flown to the Army hospital, the officials said.

An Army major and two soldiers were also injured in the encounter, officials said, adding that a non-commissioned officer, Havaldar Sombir, succumbed to his injuries subsequently.

The other injured persons, including the major, are out of danger.

Three militants were also killed in the encounter, and their bodies were recovered from the site.

The slain militants were identified as Gulzar Ahmad Bhat s/o Ab Salam r/o Tarigam kulgam; Raqeeb Ahmad Sheikh s/o Mohd Amin r/o Shiganpora Yaripora and; Numan Bhai of Pakistan.

A residential house where the militants were hiding belonged to one Sonaullah Mir, was also blasted in the encounter.

Meanwhile, locals most of them youth, took to streets and clashed with forces. The forces used tear-smoke shells, pellets and live ammunition to disperse the protesters resulting in injuries to several persons.

The injured were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

A teenager Adil Ahmad, son of Javaid Ahmad from Tarigam area of Kulgam, was brought to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar for treatment after he sustained a bullet injury in his right arm. Two others who sustained pellet injuries in the forces action were shifted to District Hospital Kulgam for treatment.

In wake of the gunfight, authorities snapped the Internet services in the district.

A 2011-batch JK Police Services officer and a resident of Doda district in the Jammu region, Thakur was leading the police team in the encounter, officials said.

Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said, “It is an unfortunate incident, in which we have lost a brave officer. He was a fighter and he led Sunday’s operation himself.”

Thakur was posted as the DySP (operations) in Kulgam two years ago and had carried out many anti-militancy operations in the area.

He was awarded the DGP’s Commendation Medal and Certificate for his exemplary service only last month.

Governor Satya Pal Malik expressed grief over Thakur’s demise and sympathy and solidarity with his family members, an official spokesperson said.

He said Malik also wished speedy recovery to the security personnel injured during the encounter.

Meanwhile, Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar too has expressed grief over the loss of life of Dy SP, Aman Thakur.

In his condolence message, after visiting the family of the officer at Reshamghar, Bakshi Nagar, alongwith senior police officers, Advisor K Vijay Kumar conveyed his sympathies to the members of the bereaved family and prayed for peace to the departed soul.

He also wished early recovery to the security personnel injured during the encounter.

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