3 militants killed in Lolab; Thousands pay homage to deceased

Baramulla: Shouting pro-freedom slogans, tens of hundreds of people  Thursday participated in funeral marches of the three unidentified militants who were killed by government forces during a cordon and search operation in Putshahi forests of Lolab valley in Kupwara district.
Soldiers of 28 Rashtriya Rifles and Kupwara police cordoned off the Gujarpati village in Putshahi area (forest ward B) early Thursday morning. They had probably been informed by someone about the presence of the militants.
How the militants were killed could not be ascertained independently because the area is remote and civilians are not allowed to venture in an area where a gunfight is raging on. However, officials said that the government forces were fired at when they zeroed in on a cowshed where they had taken shelter after the forces cordoned off the area.
The government forces blew up the cowshed and nearby hut with mortar fire, killing the trio. Three AK-47 rifles and a cache of arms and ammunition were recovered from the house
Kupwara superintendent of police Ajaz Ahmad told reporters the identity of the slain militants was being ascertained.
“We have information that they belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit. We can’t say at present whether it was a new group or old,” Aijaz said.
The bodies were handed over to the local population for last rites. Tens of hundreds of people participated in the funeral march of the militants. The militants were buried in the local graveyard amid pro-freedom slogans.
All the schools and other government offices remained closed in the area.
Defence spokesman in Srinagar Col NN Joshi in a statement described the killings as “major blow to the terrorist outfits”.

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