2 Militants, Cop Killed in Kulgam Gun Battle

SRINAGAR: The police on Monday said two militants and a police constable were killed in a fierce gunbattle in Kulgam district. The militants killed in the encounter included a commander of Lashkar-eTayeba who, it said was involved in a botched up suicide attack near a  hotel in Srinagar earlier this year.

The gunbattle erupted in Dodhipora village of the district when a joint team of police and Rashtriya Rifles launched a search operation against the militants present there. 

According to the police, a cordon was thrown around the village by the police along with the army’s 9 Rashtriya Rifles Monday afternoon following specific inputs. 

“During the combing operation, the hiding militants opened fire upon the search party, triggering an encounter,” said a police spokesman.

Reports said militants managed to break the cordon amid heavy firing. However, police said government forces pursued them and trapped them in nearby Bogam village.

Here also, a heavy exchange of fire broke out between the two sides. The firing ended only after two militants died fighting” said the police sources.

The two deceased militants were later identified as Mudasir Sheikh alias Maviya, a resident of Yamrach, Kulgam. According to the police, Sheikh was divisional commander of Lashkar. Other slain militant has been identified as Tameem, a resident of Pakistan.

“Both the militants were involved in the Silver Star Hotel attack,” said the spokesman adding a cop also lost his life in the encounter. He has been identified as head constable Niyaz Ahmad.

On October 19, a group of militant made an abortive bid to target an army convoy near the said hotel located on Srinagar by-pass. 

Two civilians died in the attack.

Monday’s operation was fourth such combing drive against the militants in the past 11 days.

Since December 13, the valley witnessed four major encounters. Three separate encounters occurred in north Kashmir’s Sopore area and Monday’s encounter took place in south Kashmir.

A total of 11 militants were killed in these gun battles.

The security forces have upped their anti-militancy operation this winter because militants prefer to come down from forest areas because of cold and snow and take shelter in residential colonies and villages.

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