Gunfight in Shopian, two militants killed

Nine injured in protest clashes with police

SRINAGAR: Two militants, police said belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen, were killed in an encounter with a joint team of army and police in Shopian district of south Kashmir on Thursday.

According to officials, acting on specific inputs about the presence of militants, army’s 44 RR and SOG laid a cordon around Gagloora village in Pinjora area of Shopian district this afternoon. When the joint team started combing operations, the militants hiding in a residential house opened indiscriminate fire upon the search team.

“The joint team returned the fire triggering off fierce encounter. In the ensuing gun-battle that continued for over an hour, two HM militants were killed,” officials said.

The slain militants have been identified as Abid Ahmad Rather son of Ghulam Mohd of Vehail Shopian, and Irshad Ahmad of Zainpora, Shopian.

However, sources said that one more militant had been present in the village when the encounter began. His fate remains unknown.

The death of the militants sparked off violent protests in the area. Scores of people shouting slogans hurled stones on the forces. Security forces lobbed teargas shells triggering off clashes resulting in injuries to nine persons including a photo journalist Sajad Ahmad.

The injured were removed shifted to district hospital Shopian for treatment, wherefrom, three injured who had received serious pellet injuries were shifted to SKIMS Soura for specialized treatment.

Doctors at Shopian hospital confirmed that at least out of six injured persons three have been referred to SKIMS Soura. They have been identified as Umar Ahmad, Tariq Ahmad and Mohd Ashraf.

Meanwhile, a defence spokesman said that two ‘hardcore’ HM militants were killed and another trapped in the encounter that started after army received inputs about the presence of three militants hiding in a shed near Drallbagh orchard of village Pinzur, situated at a distance of three km from main town.

“These militants have been actively operating in the area for more than two years. As per the last reports, operation continued as there has been intermittent exchange of fire between the troops and the trapped militant,” army spokesman added.

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