- Night-long gunfight in Handwara, three army men also injured
Handwara: Four militants and an army man were killed while as three troopers were reportedly injured in a night-long gunfight in Handwara area of north Kashmir on Thursday. Independent confirmation of such incidents is not possible, and the army and police remain the only sources of information.
According to these sources, after receiving specific information about the presence of militants, units from the 6 RR, 9 para, and SOG Handwara, along with other forces, cordoned the Hardona Vilgam forest area close to Sochliwari village of Handwara late on Wednesday night. Militants fired on the search party, resulting in an encounter. The government forces reportedly halted the encounter during the night but on Thursday morning firing from both sides resumed in which a trooper of 9 para and four unidentified militants were killed.
Official sources said the bodies of the four militants along with their weapons were recovered and the bodies were handed over to villagers of Vilgam. The army also recovered the body of the trooper, identified as Mohan Goswami of 9 para regiment.
Superintendent of Police Handwara Gulam Jeelani Wani, while talking to reporters, said that the operation was launched at about 8pm on Wednesday after receiving specific information and ended on Thursday morning. He confirmed the death of four militants and said a trooper has been injured, adding that four AK-47 rifles, some magazines and some other arms were recovered from the encounter site. However, a statement later released by the Indian army said that four AK-47 rifles, one UBGL and other warlike stores including ammunition, grenades and radio sets were recovered from encounter site and that while one soldier had died, three others sustained injuries and were undergoing treatment in the army hospital.
The SP Handwara also said this was not a new group of militants and that they were operating in the area for some time and all were non-locals.
Reports said that as the dead bodies were handed over to locals, a large number of people, including women and children, held anti-India and pro-azadi protests. The people also reportedly carried the bodies of the militants on their shoulders, and round the area for some time, and later buried them in the local martyr’s graveyard — where some other militants have been buried in the past. There were no reports of any injuries during the protests.