SRINAGAR: Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including the brother of an IPS officer, were killed and an army man injured in a gunfight in the volatile district of Shopian in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.
Four photojournalists who were covering clashes that broke out the area between civilians and security forces during the encounter were injured by pellets reportedly fired by security forces.
A police officer said a joint party of the J&K police, the CRPF and the Army laid siege around Heff-Shirmal area of Shopian in the early hours after receiving inputs about the presence of a group of militants.
“The security personnel detected the hide-out during searches and came under fire from militants hiding inside. The fire was returned by the troops,” the official said.
The heavy exchange of gunfire between the two sides continued for nearly three hours, during which, the three militants were killed. One of the deceased militants was identified as Shamsul Haq Mengnoo. Shamsul’s elder brother Inamul Haq is an IPS officer, who is posted in the Northeast.
As the gunfight started, the local youth took to roads and attempted to march towards the encounter site. They pelted stones on security personnel, who retaliated by firing tear smoke shells and pellets.
The four photojournalists covering the clashes were injured after being hit by pellets fired by security forces. They were identified as Wasim Andrabi of Hindustan Times, Nisar-ul-Haq of local English daily Rising Kashmir, Mir Burhan of ANI and Junaid Gulzar of Kashmir Essence.
A photo-journalist said security personnel resorted to pellet firing despite the photojournalists signalling them that they were media professionals and discharging their professional duties. He said the security men fired pellets intentionally above the waist to cause severe injuries.