SRINAGAR: At least five militants including a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander escaped from security forces overnight cordon and search operation in Turkwangam village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district during which a boy was killed and about two dozen others injured in clashes with security forces.
The police, CRPF and army men had launched combing operation in Turkwangam village in Shopian yesterday afternoon after receiving information about the presence of some militants there.
Sources said militants were hiding in a house and fired volume of fire from automatic weapons towards the security forces when they tried to move closer to encircle it.
The fire was returned by the security men and during the exchange of fire, militants managed to escape from the area, they said.
According to sources, security personnel continued to fire on the house and its adjoining house even after there was no firing from the militant side.
Two houses were damaged in the firing.
The security personnel continued the search operation in the area throughout the night and lifted the operation in the morning after finding no militants in the damaged houses or in the area.
Sources said five militants including a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zeenat-ul-Islam were hiding in the houses in the area when security forces laid siege around the area.
Zeenat, who hails from Sugan village of Shopian, has been active since 2015.
He has managed to give slip to security forces many a times during search operations and had escaped from security forces cordon on April 1 in village Dragad of Shopian, where seven militants were killed in the gunfight with security forces.
Zeenat is one of the most wanted militants and figured in the most wanted list of militants released by army last year.
After the news had spread that militants including Zeenat were trapped in the area, the local youth took to roads and attempted to march towards the encounter site to pave militants to escape. When intercepted, the youth pelted stones on the security personnel, who retaliated by firing tear gas shells, pellets and bullets to disperse them.
A 14-year-old boy Umar Kumar, a class 9th student, of Pinjoora, Shopian was killed after being hit by bullets while about two dozen others sustained injuries.
Thousands of people attended the funeral prayers of Umar at his native village today amidst chanting of pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
The Shopian and its adjoining areas observed complete shutdown today against the killing of the boy in security forces firing.
Over 20 militants are active in Shopian district.