Mushtaq Ahmad / Asim Shah
Handwara/ Sopore: Two local militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen were killed in a brief gunfight with government forces in Sultanpora area of Handwara in Kupwara district on Monday evening. The killed militants were identified as Toib Majeed Mir, son of Abdul Majeed Mir, resident of Brath Kalan Sopore; and Ashiq Hussain Bhat, son of Gulam Mohammad Bhat, resident of Palhallan area of Pattan tehsil, Baramulla district.
Local sources said that Toib Majeed left home during last year’s Ramadan, and since then was active in the area. He was about 21 years old. Ashiq Hussain left his home two-and-a-half year ago.
Police have not officially confirmed the identity of the slain militants. Their families have also not received a call from the police, but family members said they have heard that the killed militants are their boys.
A local person of Palhalan said that he had identified the body of Ashiq Hussain Bhat.
When asked about the identity of the slain militants, SDPO Handwara Shabir Ahmad Khan said, “I am busy right now but will inform you after some time.”
The phone of SSP Handwara Gulam Jeelani was continuously busy when this correspondent called.
Mobile internet services were snapped in
Baramulla and Sopore areas soon after the militants were killed.
Police said that both the killed militants belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen and that two pistols and one grenade was recovered from their possession.
Reports said that police had laid a naka (checkpoint) near Galganzer Zacheldara in Rajwar area of Handwara, where they were stopping vehicles for checking. A Santro car arrived and when it was asked to stop, two militants came out of it and ran in opposite directions. One of them fired some shots towards the police naka, to which the police retaliated, resulting in the killing of both militants.
Soon after the killing, a large number of army, police and CRPF men reached the spot and cordoned off the area.
When news of the killing of the two militants reached Sopore and Palhalan, a large number of people in both the areas came out and held anti-India protests. In Brath, women also held protests on streets. In Palhalan, Azadi taranas (songs) were played from mosque loudspeakers.