SRINAGAR: The head of Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK) along with three other militants and a policeman and a civilian were killed in a fierce gunfight in south Kashmir's Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid said security forces laid siege around village Nowshahar Khiram in Srigufwara in Anantnag district early this morning after receiving information that a group of four militants was hiding there.
As the army, police and CRPF men laid siege around the area and were conducting house to house searches, they came under fire from militants hiding in a two-storey house. The security personnel returned the fire, triggering an encounter.
In the ensuing encounter that continued till late afternoon, four militants, house owner Mohammad Yousuf Rather and a policeman Ashiq Hussain were killed. The house owner's wife and three security personnel were also injured in the gunfight and have been hospitalised.
A police official said the deceased militants belonged to ISJK and were involved in att police and security forces. The deceased militants were identified as Dawood Ahmad Sofi of HMT Srinagar, Majid Manzoor Dar of Talangam Pulwama, Aadil Rehman Bhat of Bijbehara, Anantnag and Mohammad Ashraf Itoo of Hatigam Srigufwara Anantnag.
The police official said 33-year-old Dawood was head of the ISJK. "Dawood was a stone pelter and joined militancy few years back. He was initially affiliated with Tehrek-ul-Mujahideen outfit but later he and other members of the outfit aligned with ISIS ideology and renamed the group ISJK," the official said.
He said all four militants killed in today's encounter were influenced by ISIS ideology. "They were involved in attacks on police and rifle snatching. After every attack, they used to claim it on IS website". Sources said NSG commandos also participated in the operation. "It was first participation in any anti-militancy operation in the Valley".
The police official said there is no organised infrastructure of ISIS in the State. He, however, said some have been influenced by the ISIS and pan-Islamic ideology. Besides recovery of arms and ammunition from the encounter site, some incriminating material was also seized, the official said.
The locals of the area took to roads while the encounter was going on and attempted to march towards the encounter site. However, the security personnel resorted to baton charge and fired pellets and bullets to disperse the mob, who pelted stones on them. About a dozen people sustained injuries in the security forces action. Meanwhile, clashes broke out in HMT area in outskirts of Srinagar after news spread that a militant of the area (Dawood) was trapped in the encounter in south Kashmir.
The youth of the area fought pitched battles with police and CRPF men throughout the day. Bodies of the militants were handed over to their family members in the evening by police after completion of medico-legal formalities.
As precautionary measure authorities today snapped internet mobile services in Srinagar, Anantnag and other parts of south Kashmir. Meanwhile, five policemen and five CRPF men were injured when militants attacked their joint patrol party with a grenade near police station Tral in south Kashmir this afternoon. The injured security men have been hospitalised.