LeT Commander, two civilians killed in South Kashmir gunfight

Two militants and two civilians were killed during an encounter between the militants and government forces in Dailgam area of Anantnag district of South Kashmir today.

According to police officials two militants who were identified as Bashir Lashkari and Azad Malik of the Lashkari-e-Toiaba  (LeT) militant outfit were killed in the gunfight with the forces.

During the encounter  forces resorted to firing on the protesters who tried to storm the encounter site to pave way for the militants to escape in which two civilians succumbed to bullet injuries. The two civilians were identified as Shadab Ahmed of Brenty Batapora and 40 year old woman Tahira. Dozens of civilians also suffered injuries during the clashes on the encounter site.

 Police officials said that Bashir Lashkari was involved in the killing of six policemen including an SHO in an ambush last month. The gunfight erupted between forces and militants after forces cordoned off a village in Dialgam area of Anantnag district as they had specific inputs about the presence of militants in the area.  Mobile Internet services were also suspended in the area amid a gunfight between militants and forces. Official said that mobile Internet services were suspended to prevent the spreading of rumours on the social networking websites.

 Police said that 17 people were evacuated from site adding that arms and ammunition were also recovered from the possession of militants. Police gave the identity of militants as Bashir Ahmad [email protected] Bashir Lashker  R/o Sopshali, Kokernag who was an  A category militant, who had got recycled into militancy on 2 October 15 and the was the district commander of LeT in Anantnag. The another militant killed during the gunfight was identified as Abu Maaz of Pakistan.

A police official said that the forces received specific information about the presence of two or three Lashkar-e-Taiba militants at Brenty Batpora, Dialgam district Anantnat. While laying cordon, militants were found holed up in a house. “As forces were trying to enter the house, the militants fired and army retaliated and in the crossfire, a lady namely Tahira got killed.” Police said that the militants used human shields at the encounter site and some 17 civilians were rescued from them.

“Additional forces were rushed to the spot, including paramilitary troops and a helicopter, to secure the safe release of the civilians trapped in the house,” the police official added.

However, witnesses disputed the police account and said neighbours went to the house where the militants were holed up to help them as the soldiers arrived in the area.  “They (the civilians) told the soldiers from inside the house that either let the militants go or kill us as well,” said a resident of Dialgam, who declined to give his name.

As gunshots were heard in the area, hundreds of villagers came out on to the streets shouting anti-India slogans and throwing stones at soldiers in their attempts to break the cordon and help the militants escape.  Bashir Lakshari was involved in the killing of an SHO and his associates on 16 June.

A police spokesman said police had announced a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on Lashkari after the attack on the SHO. All schools and colleges in the area were shut down to ensure that there was no hurdle in the operations.

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