The 19-hour gunbattle between militants and security forces in Pulwama district of south Kashmir ended this afternoon with the killing of a holed-up ultra, taking the number of militants killed to two.
Divisional Commander of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit Altaf Baba alias 'Gazi Baba' was killed in the encounter yesterday, while his associate Mohammad Abbass Nengroo was shot dead today, police said.
The gunbattle broke out yesterday afternoon in Rajpora area of the district, 45 kms from here, when a foot patrol of 44 Rashtriya Rifles came under firing from the militants.
A police spokesman said the self-styled Divisional Commander of JeM was killed in the gunbattle yesterday. His body was retrieved from the encounter site early morning and handed over to his family.
Negroo, who was hiding in the area, opened fire on the security search party at around 4 AM after a night-long lull, triggering a fresh gunbattle which led to his killing, the spokesman said.
He said security forces had maintained a tight cordon around the militants throughout the night to prevent them from escaping.
Meanwhile, five policemen were injured when their vehicle turned turtle while dealing with protests by residents of Pulwama town, sources said.
They said a group of people, protesting the killing of the militants, pelted stones at the police party due to which the driver of the vehicle lost control.
The cops fired a few rounds in the air to disperse the mob, the sources said.
Describing the killing of the two militants, especially Baba as a "major breakthrough", the spokesman said Baba was involved in several militancy-related incidents including killing and kidnapping of civilians.
"He was involved in killing of Nazir Ahmad Chopan and Mohammad Ahsan Wan in Kulgam district. He was also involved in the abduction of Shameem Ahmad Dar," the spokesman said.
He said Baba had also carried out several attacks on security forces in Rajpora area.
"Baba joined the JeM militant outfit in 2008. He was motivated by Sajad Afgani alias Ahsan Bhai of Pakistan to join militant ranks," the spokesman said.
After the protests in Pulwama against the killing of militants, the situation has been brought brought under control but continues to be tense, sources said.