TRAL: Three militants were killed in a nightlong encounter with government forces in Dadsara village of Tral.
The gun battle started Wednesday evening after the forces including army, special operation group (SOG) of police and paramilitary troopers surrounded the village after receiving inputs about the presence of the militants.
However, several hundred youths poured onto streets and demonstrated against the government forces soon after the latter surrounded the village, engaging them in stone-throwing clashes in a bid to help the trapped militants escape.
The youths, witnesses said, ignoring the government’s advisory asking people to stay away from the places where gunfights on, also tried to march towards the encounter site to help the trapped militants escape but the forces fired numerous teargas canisters and empty rounds in air to chase away the protesters.
After an exchange of fire lasting a few hours, the forces blew up the house in which the militants were hiding with explosives and mortars, killing the trio identified as Ishaq Ahmad Parray of Laribal, Tral; Asif Ahmad Mir alias Chotu of Dadsara and Ashiq Hussain of Chursoo, Awantipora.
The slain were associated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit and were working under the young militant commander Burhan.
Ishaq had joined the outfit in March last year and Asif in July 2014. Their third associate Ashiq had taken to arms in August last year. The pictures of the slain trio had over a month ago appeared in the posters circulated by army and police in Tral area.
Superintendent of police Awantipora Irshad Ahmad said that one of the slain, Ashiq Hussain, was also wanted by the National investigation Agency in connection with the attack on an army convoy in Udhampur last year.
As the news about the encounter ending with the killing of three local militants spread early morning, people from different areas in the form of small processions and atop vehicles rushed towards their native villages to participate in their funeral prayers.
The slain were laid to rest in their ancestral graveyards one after the other to ensure people’s participation in the Jinaza of each of them.
Meanwhile a complete shutdown was observed in Tral, Awantipora and Charsoo areas as a mark of respect for the trio.