Reyaz Rashid/ Saleem Iqbal Qadri

On Nauroz, north Kashmir witnesses three encounters

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Three militants killed; three soldiers injured; operations still on

Baramulla/Sopore/Hajin: In north Kashmir, it was a day of encounters. Three in a row – one near Sopore; second at Hajin and; the third at Kalantara Bala in Baramulla.

It was Nauroz – the birthday of Imam Ali (AS), the first day of Zoroastrian and Iranian calendar.

The day is also observed as World Arbour Day – the first day of spring, when mother earth begins fresh cycle of life. However, in Kashmir, it was a day of death and injuries.

Army on Thursday said two militants were killed and three soldiers, including an officer, wounded in an ongoing gunfight at Kalantara Bala in north Kashmir's Baramulla district.

In a statement, an army spokesman said two militants were killed in Kandi area of Kalantra. He said an army officer and two soldiers were wounded in the gunfight who were evacuated to 92 Base hospital in Srinagar for treatment. "The operation is in progress," he said.

The gunfight broke out today morning after the forces started searches in the area. The operation which was launched last evening was suspended during the night.

Reports coming from Sopore said that one of the militant killed in Kalantara Bala encounter hails from Sopore.

Soon after the news about death of local militant Aamir Rasool Kaboo spread in Sopore town, people took to streets, sources said.

"At 11 am we received a call from Aamir that he was trapped in Kalantara and asked family members to forgive and pray for him and his associates," brother of Aamir, Irshad Rasool Kaboo told Kashmir Images.

He further said that Aamir spoke to all family members for half an hour.

Soon after the news of his killing spread, clashes broke out between forces and youths in Arampora area and continued till this report was being filed.

Senior superintendent of police Sopore Javaid Iqbal told Kashmir Images, “I cannot say anything about Aamir because we don't have enough information.”

Aamir Rasool Kaboo son of Ghulam Rasool Kaboo went missing on 15 Dec 2018 after his father could not buy a truck for him and later it was learnt that he joined milit ranks.

Meanwhile, two more gunfights are underway in Sopore and Hajin areas of north Kashmir. A militant was killed in Hajin gunfight when this report was being filed.

Police sources said that security forces, with the help of locals, Thursday rescued two civilians held "hostage" by militants after a search operation in the Hajin area of Jammu and Kashmi's Bandipora district.

Security forces launched a search operation in the area following information about the presence of militants there, a police spokesman said.

"Two civilians were held hostage by the militants. With the assistance of security forces, police and community members, both the civilians have been rescued,”

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