3 Militants Killed In Overnight Gunfight In Tral Town of South Kashmir

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Villagers watching the house damaged in an encounter in Chewa Ular area of Tral on Friday. Pic by Shah Junaid

Srinagar: Three militants, including a B.Tech dropout were killed Friday in an overnight gunfight with government forces in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Special operations group (SOG) of police, army’s 42 RR and CRPF laid a cordon around Chewa Ular of Tral around 5pm on Thursday on the basis of an input suggesting presence of militants in the village, eyewitnesses told Kashmir Observer. The militants hiding in the village fired upon the search team in a bid to break the cordon.

“When the state forces returned the fire, the militants entered the four storey house of Ghulam Mohammad Wani and engaged them in a firefight. Soon, the exchange of fire intensified between the two sides,” Shabir Ahmad, an eyewitness told Kashmir Observer.

He said that the state forces also sent two villagers to the house to see if the house owner and his family were trapped. The forces, Ahmad said also maintained the cordon throughout the night to ensure the holed-up militants don’t escape.

“The intermittent exchange of fire continued till 6:30 am before the guns fell silent. All night, we could hear deafening sounds of blasts,” he added.

A police spokesperson here said that the militants refused surrender offer and fire upon the search team indiscriminately.

“In the ensuing encounter, 3 militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. The identification and affiliation of the militants is being ascertained,” the police spokesperson said.

The bodies, he said have been sent to Handwara for their last rites after conducting medico-legal formalities, including collection of their DNA.

“In case any family claims the killed militants to be their kith or kin, they can come forward for their identification and participation in last rites at Handwara,” the police spokesperson said.

“2 AK rifles with six magazines and 5 rounds, 01 Pistol with a magazine and 4 rounds and other incriminating materials were recovered from the site of encounter,” he added.

The police spokesperson further said that all the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their role and complicity in other crimes.

“In this connection a case under relevant sections of law has been registered in Police Station Tral and investigation has been initiated. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any,” the police spokesperson added.

The Inspector General of Kashmir Vijay Kumar claimed that Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, considered to be the indigenous militant outfit, has been wiped out in Tral for the first time since the inception of the militancy in 1989.

Meanwhile, a local news agency KNO identified the three militants as Muhammad Qasim Shah alias Jugnu of Midoora, Basit Ahmad Parray of Laribal and Haris Manzoor Bhat, a resident of Koil, Shikargah.

Shah, according to the report was son of Hurriyat Conference (G) activist Ghulam Muhammad Shah. He had joined militant ranks in 2017, leaving his B.Tech degree in Chandigarh midway.

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