4 Militants, 4 Soldiers Killed In 2 Encounters In North Kashmir

SRINAGAR: With a sudden increase in gun fights in Kashmir Valley, four suspected militants and  army soldiers were killed in two separate encounters on Tuesday.

Two days after when four militants, two civilians and two Indian army personnel were killed in Kulgam encounter, early an encounter between forces and militants ensued early in the morning today in Hajin area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora during which one suspected militant, three army men were killed. As many as seven forces personnel received injuries of whom one – of the rank of Commanding Officer – was critically injured.

A police official told the Kashmir Observer that a joint team of army and SOG cordoned off Parray Mohalla in Hajin following specific input about presence of militants this morning.

“Soon after the joint team of forces intensified the search operation in the area, the militants hiding opened fire triggering an encounter,” he said.

He said that in the ensuing encounter one militant died while three army soldiers were also killed. Besides, he said, nine security forces personnel including CRPF Commanding Officer (CO), Chitin Kumar, of 45 battalion and Major Thapa of 13 RR received bullet injuries in the exchange of firing with the militants.

Kumar, who had suffered ‘multiple gunshots’ injuries, was later airlifted from Srinagar to AIIMS Trauma Centre in Delhi for advanced treatment.

Doctors have said that his condition is “critical and the next 48 hours are crucial”.

The police official identified the slain militant as Abu Haris of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The official added that an AK 47 rifle was recovered from the possession of deceased militants.

Late in the evening, three other suspected militants and an army major were killed in the second encounter between security forces and militants in north Kashmir’s Kralgund village in Handwara area of Kupwara district.

“On specific information about presence of militants, Army’s 30 RR in a joint operation with SOG cordoned the area” Srinagar based Defence PRO, Col Rajesh Kalia, said.

“When army was searching the area, they (militants) opened fire,” Army spokesperson said adding, “in retaliation fire three militants were Killed.”

“During the operation, one of our soldier who was leading the operation also received bullet injuries and later succumbed to injuries,” he said .

The deceased soldier was identified  Major S Dhaiya.

Meanwhile, there was massive anti-India and pro-freedom demonstration during the encounter in Hajin as locals tried to march towards the gunfight site. Police used fire teargas shells to stop the protesting people who tried to help save the militants.

Reports said that a civilian was also injured during the protests erupted near the encounter site. He has been identified as Hilal Ahmad Parray, son of Mustafa Parray.

Clashes Near Encounter Sites

Even as over 15000 civilians were injured of whom hundreds are still recuperating, it does not stop people from holding pro-freedom demonstrations near encounter sites.

In two such latest incidents, people held intense demonstrations in a way to help save the militants during the encounters.

However, forces officials maintain that they caution people not to come near the gunfight spots.

On Tuesday, hundreds of people including women and children tried to break the cordon laid by security forces in Hajin area of North Kashmir to help the militants escape.

And on last Sunday, thousands of people marched towards Frisal village where militants were hiding in a house to break the cordon.

At both the spots, forces personnel swung into the action and kept people at bay, however, many were injured as clashes ensued.

“We repeatedly advise people to stay away from the encounter sites but people still come out on streets,” said Srinagar based Defence PRO, Col Rajesh Kalia, “it’s for their own safety as we don’t’ want any collateral damage.”

Col Manish added that they use loud speakers as well but “people turn out in large numbers”.

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