Hundreds of people come out to pelt troops with stones; army soldier reportedly killed in gunfight
Mohammad Suhail/ Bilal Habib
Pulwama: Two to three militants are believed to have engaged the army and other government troops in a fierce gunfight in Samboora village of Pampore, in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, since Thursday evening.
Some reports suggested that a militant has been killed and two army men injured in the gunfight so far. News agency PTI reported in the night that an army soldier was killed during the gunfight, quoting Director General of Police SP Vaid. The DGP refused to give further details to PTI and said that the encounter was continuing.
According to reports, the army’s 50 RR (Rashtriya Rifles) and the police special operations group (SOG) were conducting the operation along with paramilitary CRPF.
The Naristan neighbourhood of Samboora was cordoned off at about 6:20 PM, a police official said. “We had specific inputs regarding presence of militants in the area. While searches were being carried out, the militants opened indiscriminate fire from their hiding place, a residential house,” a senior police official from the area told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the gunfire was retaliated. “One of the militants might have been killed but we are yet to retrieve a body,” he said.
An army source acknowledged that a couple of army men may have received injuries. “But there is no official confirmation on that,” the source told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the operation may not be suspended for the night because it would become difficult to re-establish contact with the militants.
“Contact has been established and we want to take advantage of that. The operation will not be suspended,” he said.
Firing was going on in the area when this report was filed.
Intense clashes were also reported from the area. The clashes broke out soon after the cordon was laid in the area.
“Hundreds of people tried to march towards the house in which the militants were holed up. The people attacked the forces with stones,” a local source told Kashmir Reader.
The government troops used tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting people, locals said.
PTI reported in the night that one body, believed to be that of a militant, could be seen lying on the ground from a distance. PTI quoted officials as saying that the identity of the dead person would be established once the forces are able to take custody of the body.
(With PTI inputs)