SRINAGAR: Two Lahskar-e-Toiba militants and civilian were killed and two army men injured in a gunfight in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.
“Based on specific inputs about presence of militants, a joint combing and search operation was launched by army, paramilitary and police men in Redwani village of South Kashmir’s Kulgam Sunday evening,” Defence spokesman Colonel N N Joshi said.
He said while the security men were zeroing-in on the residential houses, where the militants were hiding, they came under heavy volume of fire from the hiding militants.
“The fire was returned by the troops, triggering an encounter. As the exchange of fire was going on, more security men were rushed to the spot to tighten the siege and prevent militants from escaping from the area,” Joshi said.
A police officer said the operation was suspended for the night to avoid collateral damage. “The operation to flush out the militants from the houses was launched early morning.”
He said the militants engaged the security men in the firefight. In the ensuing firefight, which continued for couple of hours, both the hiding militants were killed and two army men injured.
The deceased militants were identified as Javaid Ahmad Bhat and Idrees Ahmad Nengroo. Both were locals and affiliated to Lashkar-e-Toiba.
The police officer said a civilian identified as Asif Rashid Tantray was hit by a stray bullet in the morning during the gunfight. “He was rushed to hospital, where he succumbed to injuries”.
However, the locals alleged that he was shot dead by security forces and his death triggered protests in the area.
The youth of the area clashed with cops and pelted stones on police and paramilitary personnel while the gunbattle was going on. The cops retaliated by lobbing tear smoke shells and resorting to baton charge. The clashes continued for some time.
The deceased militant Javaid, according to police, had joined LeT last year while Idrees was a fresh recruit.
Defence spokesman Col Joshi said two injured soldiers were evacuated to army’s 92 Base Hospital in Badamibagh Cantonment, Srinagar. “The doctors attending on them have termed their condition as stable”.
BSF Posts Attacked by Pak troops
Pakistani troops violated the border ceasefire by firing on Border Out Posts (BOPs) of BSF along the International Border in R S Pura sector of Jammu district.
“Pakistani Rangers twice fired on our two BOPs along the IB in R S Pura sector during the night,” a BSF officer said.
He said border guards effectively returned the fire.