3 Militants Killed In Overnight Shopian Encounter

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Srinagar: Three local militants of Hizbul Mujahideen and Al-Badr were killed on Wednesday in a fierce overnight encounter with government forces in Zainapora area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Hizbul Mujahideen militant Sajad Ahmad Malla of Shopian and Al-Badr’s Junaid Rashid Wani and Waseem Ahmad Magray, both residents of Pulwama were killed after army’s 44 RR, special operations group (SOG) of police and the personnel of CRPF 178 battalion resumed anti-militancy operation in Sugan village of Shopian in the wee hours on Wednesday, a police spokesperson said.

The search operation, he said was launched around 7:00pm Tuesday by the state forces on the basis of specific input about the presence of militants in the village. During the operation, he said militants turned down surrender offer and instead fired on the joint team to break the cordon.

“Due to darkness the operation was suspended and the whole area was put under strict cordon. Militants trapped inside made certain attempts to break the cordon and escape from the spot,” the police spokesperson said.

He said that the bodies of all three militants have been retrieved from the encounter site along with incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition.

“All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other crimes,” the police spokesperson said.

He said that the killed militants were part of groups involved in planning & executing several attacks on security establishments.

The police spokesperson said that in view of Covid-19 pandemic, the bodies shall be sent to Handwara for burial after completion of all medico-legal formalities. The nearest family members of the killed militants shall be allowed to participate in the last rites.

“In this connection a case under relevant sections of law has been registered 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.

Meanwhile, the killing of militants set off violent protests in the village leaving at least three youth injured, two of them brothers with pellets.

Ehsan Maqbool and Basit Maqbool were injured when government forces fired pellets to disperse a group of people who were protesting against the killing of the three local militants by the government forces, reports said. The two brothers were removed to the district hospital for treatment. However, the doctors there referred them to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital for advanced treatment.

Besides them, another youth was also injured during the clashes. He was locally treated, reports said.

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