3 HM militants killed in Tral gunfight

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Srinagar: Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants including Ishaaq ‘Newton’ were killed in an overnight gunfight with government forces in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

According to official sources, three militants were killed in the encounter that broke out yesterday late evening at Mir Mohalla in Dadsara village of Tral. The slain have been identified as Aasif Yousuf of Dadsara Tral, Ishaq Parray of Laribal Tral and Aashiq Hussain of Chersoo village of Awantipora.

Ishaq Ahmad, 20, one of the slain militants, had earned the sobriquet of ‘Newton’ because of meritorious academic performance as he had scored 98.4 percent in his 10th class examinations in 2011. The slain was preparing for CET when he left his home and joined militant ranks last year.

Army’s 42 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and police’s Special Operation Group (SOG) on a specific information about the presence of militants had cordoned off Dadasara village on Wednesday night and started search operation which ended up in the outbreak of encounter and subsequent militant killings. 

Police said the militants were hiding in a residential house and the house has also suffered heavy damage in the firefight as it was blasted during night hours.

The killings of three militants triggered massive protests in Tral and Awantipora areas by locals who resorted to stone-pelting on government forces amid a complete shutdown in both areas and their adjoining villages.

Soon after bodies of three militants were handed over to their families, thousands of people rushed to the militants’ native villages for attending funerals. The witnesses said that the funerals of the trio were held separately and were attended by thousands of people amid pro-freedom, pro-Islam and anti-India protests.

Massive stone-pelting clashes broke out at several places including Tral Town, Dadsara and Chursoo between forces and angry youths after the funerals of the slain militants during which police fired scores of teargas shells. Police however said the situation in both Awantipora and Tral is under control.

Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and several pro-freedom leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani paid tributes to the slain trio and vowed to “carry on their mission until the goal of freedom is achieved”.

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