Mir Zeeshan

5 militants, 2 civilians, soldier killed in Pulwama, Shopian encounters

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One trooper injured, clashes erupt

Pulwama, May 16: Five militants, two civilians and a soldier were killed in two separate encounters in south Kashmir while as one more soldier was injured.

Three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, a civilian and a soldier were killed Thursday in an encounter in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, police said. Two more militants and a civilian were killed in a separate encounter in nearby Shopian district.

On credible inputs, a cordon and search operation was launched this morning by the troops of 55RR, CRPF and SOG of police at Delipora area in district Pulwama, he said.

“As the security forces were evacuating civilians from the neighbourhood of the target house, the hiding militants fired indiscriminately. In the process, one Army soldier Sepoy Sandeep and a civilian Rayees Dar were also killed,” the spokesman said.

In the “retaliatory action” by security forces, three militants were killed in the ensuing encounter and their bodies were retrieved, he said.

"They were identified as Naseer Ahmad Pandith of Kareemabad Pulwama, Umar Mir of Shopian and Khalid from Pakistan," he said.

The spokesman said according to the police records, the slain militants were affiliated with proscribed militant outfit JeM. They were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of militancy incidents including attack on security establishments and “civilian atrocities”, he added.

He said Naseer Ahmad Pandith, alias Saifullah, son of Mohammad Rajab Pandith, resident of Kareemabad village of Pulwama, had joined JeM ranks on 10th November, 2018.

Pandith had a long history of involvement in militancy incidents and several cases were registered against him for planning and executing attacks in the area after joining JeM, the spokesman said.

Pandith was also involved in the killing of a policeman Mohammad Yaqoob Shah of Pulwama in 2018 on the eve of Eid, he said, adding he was also involved in several weapon snatching incidents reported from the area.

He said Khalid, who was operating as JeM commander, was involved in several attacks on security establishments and “civilian atrocities” in the area. Many cases were registered against him.

"He was also wanted in the 2017 Fidayeen attack on a CRPF camp in Lethpora that left five paramilitary personnel dead" said the police official adding that “Khalid was mastermind of the attack”.

“Umar Ahmad Mir, aka Abu Dujahana, son of Ali Mohammad Mir, resident of Bhartipora village of Shoipan district had joined JeM ranks on 17 April, 2018," spokesman said, adding that he was also involved in several attacks and was part of groups responsible for attacks on security forces.”

Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other cases.

Meanwhile, after medico-legal formalities, the bodies of Pandith and Umar were handed over to their families for the last rites, police spokesman said.

The house were militants were trapped was partially damaged in the encounter.

The slain civilian Rayees Ahmad Dar, 25, son of Jalal-udin Dar, had received multiple bullet injuries and was declared brought dead at District Hospital Pulwama, said a hospital official.

His elder brother Younis has also received bullet injury on right thigh and is being treated at District Hospital Pulwama, he added.

According to a local resident of Dalipora village, slain Rayees is a native of Pakherpora village of Budgam district, and was staying here in Dalipora village with his elder brother, who runs a plywood shop in Pulwama town.

"Before slain Rayees was shifted to his native village Pakherpora for last rites, a round of funeral prayers for him was held at Dalipora with hundreds of people participating in it," locals said.

According to an eyewitness day-long clashes between youth and security forces were witnessed in Dalipora and New Colony areas of Pulwama town. However there were no reports of injuries to anyone till this report was filed.

According to a local of Kareemabad village, thousands of people participated in multiple rounds of funeral prayers of the slain Pandith at his native village which is just 3 kms away from the main town.

Soon after the gunfight broke out in the town, authorities clamped curfew while announcing it on loudspeakers and requested people to remain indoors till further orders.

Meanwhile, in the wake of killing of three militants, all shops and business establishments remained closed in Shopian district. Internet services were also suspended in police district Pulwama by authorities.

In a separate encounter, two more militants and a civilian were killed in a brief encounter with security forces in Hendow village of south Kashmir's Shopian district, Thursday afternoon.

A police spokesman said that a joint party of Army’s 44 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in apple orchards around Hendow village in the afternoon after receiving a tip off about the presence of militants there.

"As the forces were approaching towards a suspected spot, militants who were hiding there, fired on the security forces, which was retaliated, leading to a brief encounter," he said, adding that in the ensuing encounter two militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site.

The militants were identified as Yawar Mushtaq Dar alias Khalid, s/o Mushtaq Ahmad of Thokarpora and Shakeel Ahmad Dar alias Abu Wasif, s/o Abdul Gani resident of Tukroo They were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen.

Body of a civilian, Ishtiyaq Ahmad Bhat, s/o Dawood Ahmad of Handew, was also recovered from the encounter site, police said.

He further said that an army man sustained injuries in the encounter. The injured soldier was taken to nearby army’s health facility for treatment where from he was shifted to Army’s 92 Base Hospital at Badamibagh Srinagar.

Police spokesman said "incriminating materials including arms & ammunition was recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other cases."

Gunfight breaks out in Kupwara

Srinagar, May 16: A gunfight is on between the security forces and militants in Kandi forests of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

An official said that the gunfight broke out Thursday morning.

A joint team of Army’s 47 RR, 28 RR and SOG launched a cordon-and-search operation at Portel Nad and Razdan Nad – upper reaches of Kandi connecting Lolab forests, local news agency GNS reported.

An army officer said that the operation was launched in the woods following intelligence inputs about the movement of suspected militants in the area.

SSP Kupwara Ambarkar Shriram Dinkar told GNS that the gunfight between the militants and the security forces is going on in the upper reaches of Kandi.

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