Mir Zeeshan

4 militants killed in two encounters in Pulwama, Sopore

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PHOTO/ MUNEEB UL ISLAM

Pulwama/Srinagar, May 18: Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Awantipora area of Pulwama district of south Kashmir Saturday while another militant was killed in Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district in a separate encounter, police said.

According to a police spokesman, based on a credible input, a cordon and search operation was launched by the troops of 55RR, CRPF and SOG police in the early hours of Saturday in the Panzgam area of Awantipora in Pulwama.

During the search operation, the hiding militants fired on the search party, who retaliated, leading to an encounter, he said.

In the ensuing encounter, the spokesman said, three militants were killed.

He said they have been identified as Showkat Ahmad Dar, son of Ghulam Rasool Dar, resident of Ban Mohallah, Panzgam Awantipora; Irfan Ahmad War, son of Farooq Ahmad, resident of  Wadoora Payeen Sopore, and Muzzafar Ahmad Sheikh, son of Khazir Mohammad Sheikh, resident of Astan Mollaha Tahab, Pulwama.

All the three killed militants, according to the police records, were affiliated with proscribed militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen. They were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of militancy cases, including attacks on security establishments and “civilian atrocities”. Several cases were registered against them, spokesman said.

As per police records, the spokesman said, Dar had a long history of involvement in militancy.

"He was involved in planning and executing series of attacks in the area and many other civilian atrocities. He was part of a group involved in the killing of Army jawan Aurangzeb in 2018. He was also involved in the killing of a policeman Aqib Ahmad Wagay last year. Several cases were registered against him," spokesman said.

Aurangzeb was abducted and later killed by militants in Pulwama in June last year while he was on his way to home in Poonch for celebrating Eid.

The spokesman said War was part of militant groups responsible for conspiring and executing attacks on security establishments and “civilian atrocities” in the area. Many cases were registered against him (War), he said.

"Similarly, Sheikh, as per police records, was also involved in several attacks on security establishments in the area. Several criminal cases were registered against him for activities," he added.

Incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, were recovered from the site of the encounter, the spokesman said.

Police have registered a case and the material has been taken in the case records for the purpose of investigation, he added.

The spokesman said with the efforts of police and security forces, it was a “clean operation and no collateral damage took place during the encounter”. However, locals said that some houses around the site of gunfight suffered damages after being hit by the bullets.

Meanwhile, after medico-legal formalities, the bodies of the slain militants were handed over to their respective families.

"Amid pro-freedom slogans thousands of people turned for multiple rounds of funeral prayers for the slain Pulwama duo at Panzgam and Tahab villages," said an eyewitness.

"Daylong ding dong clashes were also witnessed between youth and forces around the gunfight site,” said a resident of Panzgam.

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

In another anti-militancy operation, the spokesman said, a cordon and search operation was launched by security forces in the Hathlangoo area of Sopore in north Kashmir's Baramulla district.

During the search operation, militants fired upon the forces, triggering an encounter, he said.

One militant was killed in the gun-battle, he added.

The body of the slain militant was retrieved from the site of the encounter and his identity and affiliation was yet to be ascertained, the spokesman said.

However, local news agency GNS quoted a police officer as saying that the slain militant has been identified as Waseem Ahmad Naik, son of Abdul Gani Naik of Udipora Barsoo Awantipora.

According to sources, Waseem was missing since March this year. His family had accordingly filed a missing report in police station concerned.

He said incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, was recovered from the site of the encounter.

Meanwhile, authorities suspended Internet services in Sopore town as a precautionary measure today.

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