Villagers evacuated from area but 4 civilians and one army soldier injured, gunfight occurred a km from Salamabad trade centre
Baramulla: Three “heavily armed” militants were killed near the Line of Control in Uri in a fierce and long gunfight during which several civilians were evacuated from the area and an army soldier and four civilians were injured, police said.
Police officials said that a group of three heavily armed militants crossed the LoC from the Chari Maidan post near Kalgay village in Uri in the wee hours of Sunday. The militants entered Kalgay village where the Indian Army’s artillery camp and 8 RR unit challenged them, starting a gunfight. Army and police shifted many villagers to safer places when the gunfight started. Militants fired with heavy machine guns and the gunfight continued for several hours, officials said.
They said that a soldier of the Indian Army, Hawaldar Chandra Bhan, was injured in the encounter and he was taken to hospital.
General Officer in Command (GOC) of the army’s 19 infantry division Baramulla, General RP Kalita, told Kashmir Reader that three militants were killed in the encounter. He said that at least three militants had crossed the LoC and they were challenged by alert troops of the army. The GOC said that search operation is still going on in the area.
Local civilians living in the area said that they heard heavy firing early in the morning from the Salambad area, and later learnt that a gunfight had started between army and militants at Kalgay village, which is some five kilometres from main town Uri and only one kilometre from the Salambad trade centre. They said that they saw dozens of army vehicles going towards the site. They said that some civilians were evacuated by the government forces, which included policemen, but some people who were in the danger zone could not be shifted, resulting in some of them sustaining injuries.
Reports said that four civilians, identified as Mohammad Rafiq, son of Mohammed Syeed; Safeena Begam, wife of Mohammad Ashraf; Abdul Hamied Khan, son of Quatab Din Khan, all of village Kalgay; and Imran Hussain Shah, son of Tasaduq Hussain Shah, of neighbouring Basgrah village sustained injuries and were shifted to hospital.
Block Medical Officer (BMO) Uri, Dr Mohammad Ramzan, said that two civilians were brought to SDH Uri with splinter injuries and were now in stable condition at the hospital. The two other injured civilians, reports said, were treated at the primary health centre at Salambad and they are in stable condition now.
The area is located very close to the LoC and there is no phone network there, which is why Kashmir Reader could not independently confirm the ground reports, but three residential houses are learnt to have been damaged during the gunfight.
Director General of Police SP Vaid said that the killed militants had crossed the LoC to carry out a major attack, similar to last year’s in which 19 army soldiers were killed in an attack by six militants on an army camp in Uri.
“We have averted a major tragedy today,” Vaid told reporters on the sidelines of a function at Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar. “They (militants) were planning an attack on the lines of last year’s at an army base,” the DGP said.
Meanwhile, troops busted a militant hideout and recovered a cache of arms and ammunition in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Troops launched a search operation and busted the hideout in the forest area of Kupwara, a police official told PTI
He said one AK-47 rifle, one LMG, two pistols, one rocket projectile gun, an IED, one wireless set and several dozen rounds of ammunition were recovered from the hideout.
Police has registered a case in this regard, the official said.