Army says 4 militants killed, police say 3; teenager hit by bullet in jaw during clashes, another teen by pellets in both eyes
Pakherpora (Budgam): Four Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants were killed in a gunfight and two civilians injured by bullets in clashes with government forces in Budgam’s Pakherpora area on Thursday. A residential house, from within which the militants were fighting, was blasted by government forces during the gunfight.
“After receiving reports regarding presence of militants in Futlipora village of Pakherpora, the army along with SOG of police cordoned off the village in the wee hours of Thursday. The operation continued till 2:30pm and four Jaish militants were killed,” an army spokesperson said.
Among the four militants killed, one has been identified as Shabir Ahmad Thokar, resident of Thokar Mohalla in Pulwama. The rest three are believed to be non-locals, army spokesperson Rajesh Kalia said.
However, Senior Superintendent of Police Budgam, Tejinder Singh, said, “Only three militants have been killed in the gunfight.”
“Three militants have been killed, among them one is a local and two are non-locals,” Singh told Kashmir Reader.
“Three AK 47 rifles have been recovered from them,” he added.
In a presser held in Shopian after the encounter, the army commander of Sector 12 said that government forces had killed four militants in the Pakherpora encounter.
“One was a local and three were non-locals,” Brigadier Harbir Singh said. “Three bodies have been recovered and the fourth may be mutilated in the fire and was not recovered.”
He said that a total of 53 militants from different militant groups are active in the area under his command. “There are at least two groups of Jaish (JeM) active in my area,” he said. “Majority of the active militants belong to Hizbul Mujahideen.”
The headquarter of the army’s 12 sector is in Balpora, Shopian, located on about 250 kanals of agricultural land which belongs to the agricultural university SKUAST-K.
Sameer Ahmad, a local of Pakherpora, said, “We were quite asleep when we heard the sound of army vehicles. When we woke up in the morning for Fajr prayers we saw that the army had cordoned off the village from all sides. All the entry and exit points had been sealed.”
He added that within no time the gun-battle between militants and government forces began in the outskirts of the village. “The militants were trapped in a house,” Masroor, a local, said.
“After the news of the gun battle circulated in the area, all the youths of Futlipora and adjoining areas assembled and, to help the militants escape, pelted stones on the security forces, who in return fired bullets and pellets, injuring dozens,” Masroor said.
“Clashes were intense and two boys received bullet injuries. One was hit with pellets in both his eyes,” he added. “Dozens also received pellet injuries.”
The Block Medical Officer (BMO) of Chrar-e-Sharief, Dr Masrooda, told Kashmir Reader, “All the three injured persons were brought to sub-district hospital Pakherpora and after receiving first-aid there, were referred to SMHS hospital Srinagar for further treatment.”
She added that one among the injured has been identified as Sinar Bashir Mir, 15, a resident of Pakherpora, who was hit by a bullet in the lower jaw.
“A 16-year boy of Khaigam Pakherpora, who has not yet been identified, received major pellet injuries in both his eyes. A 22-year-old resident of Kamraazpora received bullet injury in his right upper arm,” she added.
During the clashes, a Tata Sumo vehicle that was allegedly carrying army personnel was set ablaze by angry civilians.
“The Tata Sumo was seen ferrying security persons by youths of the area, who later set it on fire at Kokerkhal,” a local said.
Shahid, an eyewitness to the encounter, said, “The newly-constructed two-storey house of twin brothers Assadullah Bhat and Mohammad Ahsan Bhat was razed with several IED blasts. The house was completely damaged.”
He added that a cowshed sheltering three domestic animals, a tractor, and a Bolero vehicle, also caught fire during the gun-battle and was completely destroyed.
“The cows were half burnt when people went to see them soon after the encounter ended. They were in unbearable pain. Blood was oozing out from their bodies,” Aqib Ahmad, another eyewitness, added.
The encounter ended at 2:30pm after the house was blasted and all the militants were killed.
A complete shutdown was observed in Chadoora, Chrar-e-Sharief and Pakherpora areas of Budgam after the encounter.
Soon after the encounter, the director general of police, SP Vaid wrote on Twitter, “Today by the collective effort of @JmuKmrPolice, Indian Army, @crpfindia, CAPF & people of Kashmir have lead to neutralisation of more than 200 terrorists in the year of 2017 alone. This marks a huge landmark for establishing peace & stability in the state of J&K & our country.”