Three militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) were killed during an encounter by the government forces in South Kashmir area of Pulwama that triggered fierce protests in which one civilian died and at least 40 others were injured.
According to police while acting on a specific input about the presence of militants, the personnel of the Pulwama police along with 50 RR and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in Bank Mohalla Kakapora. During the searches militants hiding in the area fired at the search party, resulting in injury to one army official who “is stated to be stable.’’
A police official said that the fire was retaliated, ensuing an encounter in which three LeT militants were killed. The militants were identified as Majid Hameed Mir son of Abdul Hameed, Shakir Ahmad Gugjoo son of Bashir Ahmad, residents of Kakapora and Irshad Ahmad Dar son of Mohammad Sultan Dar resident of Aghangipora Padgampora, Awantipora. From the possession of the slain militants 2 AK rifles and 1 pistol was recovered from the encounter site.
Police said that Majid Hamid Mir was involved in killing of sarpanchs Fayaz Ahmad resident of Kandizal and Sarpanch Fayaz Ahmad resident of Dar Mohalla Kakapora. He was also involved in grenade attacks on police post Kakapora and bank robbery at Wahibugh. Majid along with Shakir Gugjoo were involved in the killing of advocate Abdul Gani and killing of a civilian Aijaz Ahmad resident of Urbugh. They were also involved in the bank robbery at Nehama, the police said.
According to the police after the burial of militants, a violent mob attacked police post Kakapora. “In order to save lives and government property, the security forces used riot control measures in which one person was injured,’’ said a police official. Identifying the civilian as Tawseef Ahmad @Chota Geelani resident of Tengpuna Pulwama, police said that he was shifted to hospital for treatment where he succumbed to his injuries.
“He was a chronic stone pelter and was involved in 10 stone pelting cases right from 2010 and has been earlier booked two times under PSA,’’ said a police official.
According to officials the encounter lasted for over six hours after it had started last evening after an intelligence input that three local boys, who had joined LeT, were holed up in a house located in a densely populated locality.
This is the first successful counter-insurgency operation in Pulwama area which is believed to have large presence of local militants aided with a strong-network of over ground workers, said an official.
However, as per local sources militants were travelling in sumo which was stopped by a police party near 50 RR camp however, after being stopped the driver sped away. “It was near a local Jammu and Kashmir bank branch that militants whose number was believed to be six came out of sumo and took shelter in nearby houses and the army was following them. Somehow three militants managed to escape from the spot and three militants remained trapped,’’ said a local source.
A cordon and search operation was launched in the area and all exit points were sealed. There was no gunfire for about two hours after the cordon was launched. Later during the search operation a contact was established with the militants who were hiding in a concrete house belonging to Abdul Ahad Bhat son of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat resident of New colony Kakapora.
Witnesses said that youth took to streets after announcements were made in a local mosque asking people to come out of houses and help the trapped militants to escape after which youth started pelting stones on forces who retaliated with tear smoke shells triggering clashes for many hours in which scores of civilians got injuries. The gunfight continued for more than six hours in which three local Laskar-e-Toiba militants were killed. Army major identified as Major Kartik suffered minor injury in his shoulder.
In the protests between the forces and civilians at least 40 persons were injured. More than thirty persons, with pellet, assault and shell injuries were brought to primary health centre Kakapora, eight persons were allegedly assaulted by forces while they were returning from the funeral of Lashkar militant Majid in Kakapora. Over a dozen were being treated at Sub-district hospital Pampore, sources said.
Top police official said the successful operation was a big blow to the LeT militant outfit which recently lost its commander Junaid Mattoo in an encounter at Arwin village in Anantnag district of South Kashmir on June 17.
This is the second successful operation against the militant outfit within three days. Yesterday, two militants were killed in an encounter in Sopore township of Baramulla district in north Kashmir.
Another youth hit
Meanwhile, a 9th class student identified as Kamran Mohi ul din S/o Ghulam Mohi ud Din was injured after police opened fire on stone pelting protesters in Koil Pulwama on Thursday, locals said. The youth was immediately rushed to a hospital where doctors referred him to SKIMS Sours for specialized treatment.
Witnesses said that the incident happened when scores of youth pelted stones on a police party passing through the Koil village in Pulwama.
Multiple rounds of funerals
Multiple rounds of funeral prayers were held today for three militants killed in a gunfight with government forces in Kakapora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans were raised during the funeral of Majid and Shariq in Kakapora and Sheeraz Ahmad in Padgampora area of Awantipora. Four rounds of funeral prayers were held for Sheeraz at Jamia Masjid Awantipora and his ancestral Aghazipora village located across the Jhelum river. In Kakapora, 3 rounds of joint funeral prayers were held for Majid and Shariq. Meanwhile, situation remained tense in Pulwama district after killing of a civilian.
Train services suspended
Authorities suspended train services between Baramulla and Banihal following protests over the killing of three militants and a civilian in Kakapora area of Pulwama district. “We have suspended train services for security reasons,” said a railway official. Traffic was suspended on highway at Awantipora after massive protests erupted following the killing of three militants.