56-Hr Handwara Gunfight Over;5 Forces Personnel,2 Militants,Civilian Killed

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SRINAGAR — Five forces personnel, including a CRPF officer, two militants, and a civilian were killed in a 56-hour gunfight in Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, police said on Sunday.

A police spokesman said the operation at Babagund area of Handwara took time as it posed considerable difficulties to the forces due to the topography of the area.

Two militants were killed by state forces in the gunfight which began on Friday morning, the police spokesman said here.

He said bodies of both the militants were recovered from the site of the encounter and their identities and affiliations are being ascertained.

The spokesman said a CRPF soldier identified as Sham Narayan Singh Yadav who was injured in the exchange of fire on Friday, succumbed to injuries on Sunday taking the number of state forces’ fatalities to five.

Two CRPF personnel, Inspector Pintu and Constable Vinod, and two cops, Selection Grade Constables Naseer Ahmad and Ghulam Mustafa Barah, were killed in the gunfight on Friday, the spokesman said.

A civilian Waseem Ahmad Mir was also killed in alleged government forces action amid clashes near the encounter site.

The encounter broke out during the night between February 28 and March 1 after the joint team launched a cordon-and-search operation. A fierce encounter started and two militants were believed to have been killed.

However, when the joint search team went to retrieve the militant bodies amid a lull, one of the two militants, earlier believed to be dead stood up and fired indiscriminately. A CRPF Inspector namely Pintu Kumar and paramilitary trooper Vinod besides two policemen– Naseer Ahmad Kholi and Ghulam Mustafa Barah—were killed and eleven uniformed men, seven of the army men, were injured in the subsequent gunfight. A civilian Waseem Ahmad Mir was also killed in alleged government forces action amid clashes near the encounter site.

Three houses have also been razed to rubble during the course of gunfight. The three houses damaged belong to Manzoor Ahmad shah son of Ghulam Hassan, Fayaz Ahmad Peer son of Wali Mohammad and Imtiyaz Ahmad Bhat son of Ghulam Ahmad Bhat. Two cowsheds and a tin shed were also damaged so far, the officials added.


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