SRINAGAR: There has been no let up in encounters in Kashmir as two militants were killed and two soldiers injured in an encounter between militants and security forces in Pulwama area of south Kashmir on Monday while five civilians were injured in security personnel’s firing on protestors during clashes near the encounter site.
Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants including top commander Riyaz Naikoo escaped from security forces operation at Malangpora area of Pulwama after stone pelting by locals while a policeman was injured in a militant attack in busy market in south Kashmir’s Anantnag town.
A police official said acting on specific information about presence of militants, police, army and CRPF men launched a joint combing and search operation area village Bahmnoo in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district early this morning.
He said they had information that three local militants were hiding in the area.
“As the combing operation was going on, militants hiding in a house opened fire from AK-47 rifles towards the security personnel. The fire was returned by the troops, triggering an encounter,” the police official said.
He said the militants kept changing their positions during the firefight.
“Two militants have been killed in the gunfight so far,” he said adding another militant continued to engage the security personnel in the gunfight.
The security personnel fired mortar shells to end the militant’s resistance but the firing was going on.
Sources identified the slain militants as Kifayat Ahmad Khanday and Jehangir Ahmad, both belonging to group of Zakir Musa, who quit Hizbul Mujahideen recently after threatening Hurriyat leaders and pledging to establish Islamic caliphate in the State.
Kifayat had joined militancy in April this year while Jehangir was active since last year.
Sources said two army men were injured during the gunfight and have been hospitalized.
As the gunfight started, youth of the area attempted to march towards the encounter site amidst chanting of pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. The youth pelted stones on security personnel, who resorted to baton charge and fired pellets and bullets to disperse the protestors.
At least five persons sustained injuries in the security forces action. Of the five, two were hit by bullets and were hospitalized.
Meanwhile, two Hizbul militants including top commander Riyaz Naikoo escaped from security forces operation at Malangpora village of Pulwama district after stone pelting by the locals.
“The security forces had laid siege around the village last evening after receiving inputs about presence of two Hizb militants including Naikoo in the area. While security forces were laying siege, youth of the area took to roads and pelted stones on them. As the clashes erupted, militants escaped from the area. Later, security forces called off the operation,” sources said.
There have been many instances when militants have escaped from security forces cordon and search operation (CASO) in Valley due to stone pelting and protests by the local population, especially youth.
Meanwhile, militants fired on Road Opening Party (ROP) of police near Bus Stand Anantnag in south Kashmir this afternoon.
A policeman identified a Ghulam Hassan and a Sikh woman sustained injuries in the militant attack, a police spokesman said.
The injured policeman was evacuated to army hospital, where doctors operated him.
The doctors attending on him have termed his condition as critical.