SRINAGAR: A PhD scholar was among five militants of Hizbul Mujahideen killed in a gunfight with security forces in south Kashmir's Kulgam district on Sunday.
The PhD scholar was identified by the police as Waseem Bashir Rather alias Zeeshan who had joined militant ranks on May 23, 2018, after his close friend was killed in a gunfight with security forces last November.
Waseem is the third PhD scholar to be killed in an encounter in J&K after Manan Wani, who was killed last November, and Sabzar.
A police official said, units of the police, CRPF and Army launched a joint cordon and search operation in a village in the wee hours of Sunday following specific inputs about the presence of militants in Kellam area of Devsar in Kulgam.
As the searches were being conducted, the units suddenly came under heavy fire, forcing the security forces to get into an exchange, which last over four hours. At the end of the encounter, five Hizbul Mujahideen members were found dead.
Apart from Rather, the deceased terrorists were identified as Zahid Parray, Idrees Ahmad Bhat, Aaqib Nazir and Parvaiz Bhat, all local militants, police added.
As the gunfight started, youth of the village took to the roads and attempted to march towards the encounter site.
However, they were intercepted by the security personnel, who fired pellets and tear gas shells to disperse them. The youths, however, began pelting the troops with stones.
At least a dozen protestors sustained injuries and were evacuated to nearby hospital, which referred two of them to Srinagar hospital for specialised treatment.
The authorities suspended mobile internet service in the area as a precautionary measure.
Meanwhile, 11 people, including seven security personnel, were injured in a grenade attack by militants at Lal Chowk area.
The militants hurled the grenade at the security personnel near Palladium Cinema at Lal Chowk around 6.45 pm, resulting in injuries to 11 people, a police spokesperson said. "Four policemen, three CRPF personnel and four civilians were injured in the terror attack," he said.
The wounded include two women and the injured were taken to a hospital, where their condition was stated to be stable, the police spokesperson said. Police have registered a case in this regard and an investigation is underway, he said.