Several injured during clashes that began even before the gunfight started
Shopian: Three militants believed to be members of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were killed by government forces in a gunfight that started Monday afternoon in Gattipora village, about 11 km from main town Shopian.
Police confirmed the killing of the militants but said their bodies were yet to be retrieved. Sources in the police said that Irfan Abdullah Ganai of Heff village, Zahid Mir of Ganawpora village, and Asif Ahmad of Kellar village were believed to have been killed. Asif was the last to be killed, late in the evening, after putting up a stiff fight even after his two associates were killed. Mir and Asif were affiliated with Hizb while Irfan was with LeT.
Local sources present at the site told Kashmir Reader that Asif’s mother was brought from Kellar to try make him surrender.
“He promptly turned down the offer and is engaging the security forces in a gunfight,” the sources said, before news came of Asif’s killing.
According to reports, Gattipora village was cordoned off at about 4pm, following specific inputs regarding presence of militants in the area. While searches were being carried out, intense clashes erupted in the area as people tried to provide a safe passage to the holed-up militants.
“The protesting locals were dispersed by using tear smoke shells and aerial firing,” local sources said.
Sources said that several people were injured during the clashes, but most of them were treated locally, given the continued siege of the village.
As the clashes subsided, door-to-door searches were carried out, during which the militants fired from a residential house, a senior police officer from the area said.
“The fire was duly retaliated,” the official said. “The encounter started at about 4:45pmand is still underway,” he said in the evening, speaking at a time when Asif was still alive and fighting.
The officer said that two of the locations from where the fire was coming had fallen silent – “an indication that the militants have been killed.”
Local sources had said that the house in which Asif was holed up could be bombarded by the government forces. No explosives had been used till the time this report was filed.
People in the area were hovering right outside the ring of the cordon, refusing to go to their homes even though the clashes had ended by late evening.