Three militants and a civilian were Wednesday killed in a gunfight and subsequent protests in Tral area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Range, Munir Ahmad Khan said three militants were killed in an encounter that raged between forces and militants in Gulab Bagh area of Tral today. He said that all the three militants have been identified.
The three slain militants were identified as Zahid Ahmed Bhat from Nawdal Tral, Ishfaq Ahmed from Batgund Tral and Ashraf Dar from Trich Pulwama.
Sources said that after specific information about the presence of militants in Gulab Bagh area of Tral, a joint search operation was launched in the area during which militants fired upon the forces, resulting in a brief gunfight in which three militants were killed.
They said that clashes also broke out in Tral areas following the killing of three slain militants.
Sources said that the clashes also erupted in slain militant Zahid’s native place Nawdal during which a youth identified as Muhammad Younis Sheikh, 16 was injured.
They said that the youth was shifted to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival. Sources said that Younis was hit by pellets damaging his vital organs.
IGP Kashmir said, “The youth of Nawdal attacked the Army camp situated in their area during which a youth was killed who had received pellet injuries.”
The boy was later taken to Tral where thousands of people staged protests in various villages. Massive clashes also raged at Pulwama Town between youth and government forces against the Tral encounter. Police resorted to intense teargas shelling on protesters.
The situation in Tral and Pulwama areas was tense when reports last came.
Meanwhile, all educational institutes shall remain closed in Pulwama district tomorrow, according to district administration. The clashes also raged at Pampore area of the district where forces resorted to aerial firing. In Qaimoh area of Kulgam district, forces fired in air after locals clashed with them during a raid on a hospital.
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said that the three militants belonged to Zakir Musa’s group.
He said that police along with 42 RR, 180 BN CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in Gulab Bagh area of Tral in Pulwama after receiving specific inputs about presence of militants there.
As the forces were conducting the search operation, the hiding militants fired upon them. The security forces retaliated, leading to an encounter. During encounter, three militants of Zakir Musa’s group identified as Zahid Ahmad Bhat resident of Nowdal Tral, Mohammad Ishaq Bhat resident of Batagund Tral and Mohammad Ashraf Dar resident of Baghi Trich, Pulwama were eliminated. Two AK 47 rifles and one pistol were seized from the encounter site.
The spokesman said that Mohammadd Ishaq Bhat was involved in a firing incident when a cop identified as HC Abdul Gani Bhat was shot from close range.
He was also involved in thrashing and torturing of some SPOs on gunpoint and circulated the same on social media.
Zahid Rashid Bhat was involved in hurling grenade on CRPF men which resulted in injuries to one CRPF personnel.
Both Ishaq and Zahid were also involved in firing incident at Tral-i-Payeen Bazaar resulting in injuries to three persons and firing incident at T-Chowk, Tral. They were also involved in various grenade attacks in South Kashmir, the spokesman added.