Shopian Encounter Ends: Injured Civilian Succumbs, Militants Escape

We Are Trying To Bring Some Change In Our Tactical SOPs: IGP

Srinagar- Militants managed to give slip to security forces during an encounter in Pandoshan village of Shopian on Tuesday. However, a civilian lost his life while another civilian and a soldier were injured during the initial stage of the encounter, reports reaching here said.

Official reports said that a civilian namely Shahid Gani Dar son of Abdul Gani Dar resident of Pandoshan, Shopian succumbed to his injuries at 92 base hospital Srinagar.

According to these reports two civilians were injured during the initial exchange of fire on Monday evening.

Besides Dar, two more injured, a civilian Shoaib Ahmad Mantoo and soldier Lance Naik Sanjib Das were also removed to the army hospital for treatment. The condition of both them was stated to be stable.

Police said that operation was called off as militants managed to escape during night hours taking advantage of darkness.

Meanwhile, police in a statement said that based on specific input about the presence of militants in Pandashan, Shopian, a joint cordon and search operation was launched on Monday evening by Shopian police and Army in the area.

"As the joint team was establishing the cordon around the area, the hiding militants started indiscriminate firing upon the search party. In order to save the civilians present in the area, the joint team while exercising maximum restraint started evacuating them. However, during evacuation process, the hiding militants targeted the civilians as well as the joint team in a bid to escape,” the police spokesman said.

He said that although the civilians were evacuated to safer places, however, due to heavy firing by militants, one soldier Lance Naik Sanjib Das and two civilians namely Shahid Gani Dar and Suhaib Ahmad received gunshot injuries.

"All the injured were immediately airlifted to 92 Base Hospital, Srinagar for treatment However, civilian Shahid Gani Dar succumbed to his injuries while the other injured civilian, Suhaib Ahmad and Lance Naik Sanjib Das are under treatment. After all medico-legal formalities, the body has been handed over to the family for last rite,” the spokesman said, adding that taking advantage of the darkness and civilian presence, the militants managed to escape from the site of encounter and efforts are on to track them.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar said that it has been observed in some encounters recently in Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag districts that Pakistani militants started firing at civilians and security forces while laying an initial cordon to escape.

“In some of such encounters militants managed to escape from cordon but we have lost precious lives of civilians and security forces. We are trying to bring some change in our tactical SOPs,” he said.

Meanwhile, defence spokesman in Srinagar in a statement said that based on an input of likely presence of militants in general area of Pandashan, located approximately 4 kms southeast of Chaudhary Gund, Shopian, a joint cordon & search operation was launched by Army and police at 7:45 pm on May 9.

“At around 8:30 PM, while own teams were establishing a cordon around the target house, the militants started firing indiscriminately in all directions in an attempt to breach the cordon, thereby putting the lives of civilians at a great risk,” he said. “Sensing grave threat to the lives of the civilians, own teams commenced civilian extrication from the operation site despite being heavily fired upon by the militants. The militants sensing being cornered started firing on the civilians in order to create chaos to assist them in their escape bid.”

He said that with complete disregard to own safety, the security forces were successful in evacuating majority of the civilians to a safe location, however, due to incessant and targeted fire from the militants, one soldier Lance Naik Sanjib Das and two civilians namely Shahid Gani Dar and Suhaib Ahmad received gunshot wounds.

“All the injured were immediately evacuated in an army helicopter to 92 Base Hospital, Srinagar. Despite timely medical intervention and best efforts of the doctors, Shahid Gani Dar succumbed to his injuries,” he said.

Second civilian Suhaib Ahmad is reported to be critical, but stable. “He will be undergoing life saving surgeries. Lance Naik Sanjib Das is stable and out of danger,” the spokesman said. “Taking advantage of cover of the dark, the militants managed to escape the operation site. Security Forces have intensified their search operations to nab these militants,” he said.

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