SRINAGAR: Three militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir's Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday while a civilian died in security men's fire near the encounter site. Elsewhere, a militant was killed in a gunfight in border district of Kupwara while three army men were injured in grenade attack in Shopian.
A police official said Army, police and CRPF men launched a joint cordon and search operation at Thamuna village near Chatpora in Pulwama district this afternoon after receiving inputs about presence of militants there. As security personnel were conducting house to house searches, they came under heavy fire from militants hiding in a residential house. The fire was returned by the troops, triggering an encounter. In the ensuing gunfight that continued for four hours, three militants were killed. The house, where from militants were firing on the troops, was damaged during the gunfight.
The police official said identity of slain militants was being ascertained.
Earlier, there were reports that Lashkar's Pakistani militant Naveed Jhatt and Hizb commander Junaid Sehrai were present in the house. However, police had quashed those reports. Jhatt, who escaped from police custody in a hospital in Srinagar in February this year, has been identified by police as one of the assailants in senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari's assassination on June 14.
After the gunfight erupted in the area in the afternoon, the locals especially youth took to roads and attempted to march towards the encounter site. When intercepted by security personnel, the youth pelted stones on them. The security men in retaliation fired tear smoke shells, pellets and bullets to disperse them. At least a dozen protestors sustained injuries in security forces action. The injured were rushed to hospital, where a critically injured boy Faizan Ahmad Khan succumbed to injuries.
After the death of a youth, tension gripped the area and youth in large numbers took to roads and staged protests. Meanwhile, another militant was killed in the forest area of Trehgam in border district of Kupwara in the morning. The identity of the slain militant and the outfit to which he owes allegiance was being ascertained. Militants also lobbed a grenade towards an army patrol party in south Kashmir's Shopian district in the morning.
"Militants lobbed a grenade at a group of Army men when they were busy opening the Good Will Public School in Ahagam area of Keegam village in Shopian this morning. The militants also fired on army men. In the grenade attack and firing, three Army men were injured and hospitalised," a police official said. He said army men exercised maximum restraint to avoid any damage to the civil population and students around.