SRINAGAR: Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in a 10-hour long encounter with security forces in central Kashmir’s Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday while two soldiers were killed in Pakistani troops firing along Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector of border district of Kupwara.
A police official said acting on specific information about presence of militants, police army and paramilitary men launched a joint operation in Redbug area of Magam in central Kashmir’s Budgam district last evening to flush out the militants hiding there.
He said after plugging of all possible escape routes, a house where the militants were hiding was encircled.
“Since we had information that local militants were present inside, we asked them to surrender. Their family members were also brought to the area to convince them to surrender. However, the militants turned down the pleas of their family members and security men to surrender and fired on the search party,” the official said.
He said the security personnel returned the fire and encounter between the two sides continued for 10 hours.
The encounter ended this morning with the killing of three Hizbul Mujahideen militants, he said.
Two security personnel were also injured during the gunfight and have been hospitalised.
The slain militants were identified as Aaqib Gul, Javaid Ahmad Sheikh and Sajad Ahmad Gilkar, all locals.
Of the two Aqib hailed from Hyderproa area in uptown Srinagar while Sajad hailed from Malaratta area in downtown Srinagar. Javaid was a resident of central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Their killings sparked protests and shutdown in downtown Srinagar, parts of Hyderpora and central Kashmir.
The youth took to roads and staged protests in downtown Srinagar and some other places against militant killings. Chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the protesting students clashed with security personnel by pelting stones on them. The cops retaliated by firing tear gas shells and pellets. Many people including a photo-journalist of a local newspaper sustained injuries in the security forces action.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral prayers of the slain militants amidst pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
A police spokesman said slain militants were involved in recent weapon snatching incidents in South and central Kashmir.
“They were also involved in anti-national activities, unlawful activities, damaging of government property and stone pelting incidents,” he said.
The spokesman said Sajad played a key role in murder of DySP Mohammad Ayoub Pandith, who was lynched to death by mob at Jamia Masjid Nowhatta, Srinagar last month.
He said after the incident, Sajad went underground and joined Hizb.
“Sajad was also involved in three grenade attacks in Srinagar and attack on army convoy in Srinagar this year,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, two army men were killed in Pakistani troops firing along LoC in Keran sector in border district of Kupwara.
An army official said Pakistani troops breached the border ceasefire and fired on patrol party of army in Keran sector Kuwpara this afternoon.
He said two soldiers were killed in the Pakistani troops firing.
Sources identified the deceased soldiers as Lance Naik L N Ranjit Singh and Rifleman Satish Bhagat.