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Pakistani militant killed in Kulgam encounter

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Srinagar: A Pakistani militant was killed in an overnight encounter in Kulgam district while the second one possibly managed to flee, officials said Friday.

They said the overnight encounter began after two militants, who had positioned themselves in a building, started firing “indiscriminately” on a BSF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway on Thursday.

Talking to media on the sidelines of a function here, Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar said the slain militant, identified as Usman from Pakistan, was a “dreaded terrorist” active for the past six months.

“Around 2:30 pm (Thursday), terrorists fired upon the convoy of BSF on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway near Malpora Mir Bazar area of Kulgam. The fire was retaliated by an ROP (road opening party) of police and CRPF,” a police spokesman said in a statement.

There were no injuries in the initial attack.

Police and Army reinforcements were rushed in immediately and they cordoned off the area, the spokesperson said.

“The force party ensured not to give any chance to the terrorists to escape. The terrorists took shelter in a nearby huge building and fired indiscriminately upon the joint party of police/security forces which was retaliated, leading to an encounter,” he said.

“Keeping in view the huge and concrete structure of the building and to minimize the collateral damage, drones were pressed in for monitoring the movement of terrorists hiding inside. During this exercise two drones got destroyed,” police spokesman said.

The IGP said there was a general input for the last one week that “terrorists were planning an attack on the national highway on Baramulla-Srinagar road or Qazigund-Pantha Chowk”.

“So, the police and security forces were ready. This shows how good the response of the security forces has been that there was retaliation and the militant was not allowed to flee,” Kumar told reporters here.

He said when the BSF convoy was coming, “two terrorists fired indiscriminately from a huge building, but there was no injury to us”.

“Security forces cordoned off the area and the encounter ensued. GoC (general officer commanding of the Army’s south Kashmir-based) Victor Force and I monitored the operation during the night. We used rocket launcher and a militant was neutralised during the night,” the IGP said.

“Since it is difficult to search in the dark, in the morning, the dead body of a Pakistani terrorist identified as Usman, who had been active for the last six months, was recovered,” he said.

While as police said a huge cache of arms and ammunition, which includes an AK-47 rifle, magazines, grenades, RPG-7 rocket launcher, was recovered from the encounter site, and confirmed the killing of a Pakistani militant, nothing was said about the second militant in the official statement. However, local news agency KNO, quoting sources, reported that the second one “managed to flee”.

IGP Vijay Kumar said the incident shows the “terrorists they were planning something big”.

“It is after a long time that RPG-7 has been recovered (in Kashmir) and the police and security forces have averted a major incident. I am proud of the police and security forces,” he said, adding, “We achieved a major success by killing Usman – the dreaded Pakistani terrorist.”

The police spokesman also said a CRPF man and an Army personnel were injured during the operation, while two civilians got injured “far away from the site by stray projectiles”. Army in a statement said “three security forces’ personnel including one officer and two other ranks along with two civilians were injured.” All the injured have been taken to a hospital for treatment, police said.

However, local news agency KNO reported that the two civilians were injured during clashes with the security forces on Thursday.

According to the police spokesman, “preliminary investigations, recoveries and the manner of engagement by the terrorist suggest that attack was pre-planned and intended to inflict considerable damage to the security forces to disrupt scheduled functions ahead of 15th August and spread fear amongst general public. However, the joint teams of police and security forces were successful in defeating the evil plans of terrorists and averted a major tragedy before the Independence Day.”

He said in this connection a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and investigation has been initiated.

“People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any,” police spokesman said.

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