Highway Encounter Ends, Militant Killed

KO Photo By Abid Bhat

IGP Says A “Dreaded Pakistani Terrorist”, Killed With Rocket Launcher

Srinagar: Security forces achieved a major success as a Pakistani militant planning an attack along the national highway in Jammu and Kashmir was killed in an encounter in Kulgam district, officials said Friday.

They said the overnight encounter began after two militants, who had positioned themselves in a building, started firing "indiscriminately" on a BSF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said the slain ultra, identified as Usman from Pakistan, was a "dreaded terrorist" active for the past six months.

"Around 3 pm (Thursday), terrorists fired upon the convoy of BSF on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway near Malpora Mir Bazar area of Kulgam. The fire was retaliated by an ROP (road opening party) of police and security forces," a police spokesman said.

There were no injuries in the initial attack.

Police and Army reinforcements reached there immediately and cordoned off the area, the spokesperson said.

"The force party ensured not to give any chance to the terrorists to escape. The terrorists managed to took shelter in a nearby huge building. The holed-up terrorists fired indiscriminately upon the joint party of police/security forces which was retaliated, leading to an encounter," he said.

The IGP said there was a general input for the last one week that "terrorists were planning an attack on the national highway on Baramulla-Srinagar road or Qazigund-Pantha Chowk".

"So, the police and security forces were ready. This shows how good the response of the security forces has been that there was retaliation and the militant was not allowed to flee," Kumar told reporters here.

He said when the BSF convoy was coming, "two terrorists fired indiscriminately from a huge building, but there was no injury to us".

"Security forces cordoned off the area and the encounter ensued. GoC (general officer commanding of the Army's south Kashmir-based) Victor Force and I monitored the operation during the night. We used rocket launcher and a militant was neutralised during the night.

"Since it is difficult to search in the dark, in the morning, the dead body of a Pakistani terrorist identified as Usman, who had been active for the last six months, was recovered," he said.

A huge cache of arms and ammunition, which includes an AK-47 rifle, magazines, grenades, RPG-7 rocket launcher, was recovered from the encounter site, he said.

Kumar said it shows the "terrorists they were planning something big".

"It is after a long time that RPG-7 has been recovered (in Kashmir) and the police and security forces have averted a major incident. I am proud of the police and security forces," he said, adding, "We achieved a major success by killing Usman – the dreaded Pakistani terrorist."

The police spokesman quoted above also said a CRPF jawan and an Army personnel and two civilians got injured in the "indiscriminate firing by the terrorists".

All the injured have been taken to a hospital for treatment, he said.

CRPF Man, 2 Civilians Injured In Sopore Blast

Reports from North Kashmir said three people, including a CRPF head constable were injured on Friday in a grenade attack in Sopore town of Baramulla district.

Unknown militants on Friday afternoon lobbed a grenade towards a CRPF team near State Bank of India (SBI) in Main Chowk, Sopore that exploded with a bang, officials said. In the grenade attack, a CRPF head constable and two civilians received splinter injuries.

The trio, officials said, were removed to the hospital for treatment.

The grenade attack triggered panic in the area, prompting the shopkeepers to down their shutters and run towards safer places. The movement of traffic was also affected briefly.

Soon after the attack, reinforcements of police and CRPF reached the area and launched a search operation to nab the attackers.

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