SRINAGAR Three militants, one of them from Lashker-e-Taiba and two others from Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfits, one of them a former SPO, were killed in two separate encounters with government forces in southern Anantnag and central Kashmirs Budgam district on Thursday. Fifteen persons were injured in government forces action during massive clashes that ensued the gun battles.
A police official said Police, CRPF and Army in the wee hours launched a cordon-and- search operation at Gazi Gund Dooru in Anantnag.
During the searches, he said, encounter started off between joint government forces and militants and in the ensuing gun battle, a local militant identified as Asif Malik who was operating as commander of LeT and an army Soldier were killed. Malik, according to the officer was involved in several attacks on government forces including the killing of CRPF men at Achabal this year. He identified the slain soldier as Happy Singh of 19 Rashtriya Rifles.
Confirming the killing, SSP Anantnag, Altaf Khan said that the CASO was launched based on information about the presence of militants in the area. He said arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.
Meanwhile clashes erupted soon after the news about the encounter spread in the area and in clashes, five persons sustained injuries and have been hospitalized.
Thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of Asif Malik alias Abu Ukasha at his native village Khahgund Verinag in Anantnag district.
Reports said militants also appeared in the funeral and offered gun salute to their slain comrade.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Dooru and Verinag areas of the district.
Reports said clashes have also erupted in Larkipora and Dialgam areas of the district.
At Panzan in Chadoora area of Budgam district, a police official said that an encounter between government forces and militants started early Thursday morning and two militants identified as Sheeraz Ahmad Bhat of Kralwari Chadoora and Irfan Ahmad Dar of Kakapora Pulwama, affiliated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, were killed. Irfan Ahmad Dar was working as SPO and had deserted a couple of months ago, the police official said.
He said militants fired on a search party from a nearby mosque and subsequently area was taken into cordon. The local Auqaf Committee was engaged to convince the militants to come out. Government forces also appealed the militants to come out However, they turned down the offer and consequently the operation had to be carried out in a deliberate manner keeping intact the sanctity of the mosque, the official said. In the operation, he said, one forces personnel also sustained bullet injuries and was evacuated to hospital for medical treatment.
Meanwhile, soon after the news spread in the area about the gun battle, scores of youth took to streets and staged massive protests. The government forces responded with force, using teargas canisters, pellets and live ammunition to quell the protesters. At least ten persons were injured and they were identified, as per official sources as Mohammad Amir Bhat (bullet injury in left leg) son of Asadullah. He has been referred to SKIMS here.
Persons with pellet injuries were identified as Ajaz Ahmad Ganie (left eye and face) of Chadoora
imtiyaz Ahmad (20 year old having injuries in face, chest and left arm) son of Farooq Ahmad Mir of Pazan chadoora , 20-year-old Towseef Ahmad age (injuries on whole body) son of Manzoor Ahmad of Chadoora, Haider (injuries on shoulder) of Chadoora, Imran (18-year-old; injuries on face) of Ompura, Mohammad Iqbal (20-year-old with injuries in left eye) son of Abdul Gani of Chadoora, 19-year-old Irfan (injuries on face and chest) son of Mohammad Yousef of chadoora, Bilal Ahmad (17-year-old with injuries in right eye) son of Manzoor Ahmad Lone of Chadoora and 32-year-old Showket Ahmad (injury on left eye) son of Ghulam Mohammad Chopan of Pazan Chadoora