2 militants, cop killed in Tral gunfight

Army officer among 3 injured; People again come to militants’ rescue, 18 suffer injuries

Tral: The encounter between government forces and militants that had started last evening in Nazneenpora village of volatile Tral town ended Sunday evening with the killing of two militants and a policeman. Three forces personnel, including an army officer, were also injured during the gunfight that lasted for around 27 hours.
As many as 18 youths who tried to help escape militants escape by protesting near the site of gunfight were injured.
Army and police laid a siege around the village last evening following an input about the presence of militants. As the forces surrounded the village, militants hiding in a residential house opened fire triggering an encounter.
Soon, as has been a norm now, people from neighbouring villages started rushing towards the site of the gunfight to disrupt the anti-militancy operation in a bid to help the militants escape.
Exchange of fire continued till late in the night and resumed this morning. During the fresh gunfight, constable Manzoor Ahmad Naik of Salamabad Uri was killed while an army officer and a policeman identified as Gulzar Ahmad were injured.
The army officer identified as R Reshi, official sources said, suffered injuries in his jaw. Another CRPF trooper, officials said, was also injured after being hit by a stray bullet while performing duty at the nearby camp.
As the gunfight resumed this morning, hundreds of youth, witnesses said, ignoring warnings by the forces, again assembled near the site and threw stones at the forces. Witnesses said that the stone throwing youth gave tough time to the forces fighting the militants.
Forces resorted to tear gas shelling and pellet firing to drive away team youths. During the daylong clashes over a dozen youth were injured after being hit by pellets and teargas shells.
“About 18 persons were brought to the hospital with injuries. Eight of them, mostly with pellet injuries, were shifted to Srinagar,” a doctor at SDH Tral told Kashmir Reader.
Locals and police sources said that the holed up militants continued to fire at the forces even though the house they were hiding in had been brought down with explosives.
“The militants even fired from the debris after the house was blasted,” a police official posted in the area told Kashmir Reader.
None of the top police officials of south Kashmir Kashmir Reader spoke to were sure about the conclusion of the operation till late evening.
“We were sure about the presence of two militants in the house. But we were able to retrieve the body of one militant in the evening only while the searches are on to retrieve another body,” a police official told Kashmir Reader late evening.
He identified the slain militant whose body was retrieved as Aqib Ahmad Bhat alias Aqib Molvi of Hayuna Tral.
Aqib, according to locals had joined militant ranks three years ago. He was also Hafz-i-Quran (One who memorises whole Quran). Another militant killed in the encounter was identified as Umar alias Osama from Pakistan. (with inputs from BILAL HABIB)