Militant, army soldier killed in Kulgam encounter

Militant’s identity not yet known; slain 20-year-old army man had just been inducted into service

Kulgam: A militant and an army soldier were killed and a policeman injured during a gunfight in Qazigund area of Kulgam district on Tuesday. A combing operation had been started in the area since early afternoon and was still going on when this report was filed in the evening.
The identity of the slain militant is yet to be ascertained. The army soldier killed in the encounter has been identified as 20-year-old Sepoy Manjinder Singh, a native of Punjab.
“He was recently inducted into service,” an army spokesperson told Kashmir Reader.
SP Pani, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), South Kashmir, confirmed the fatalities. “One soldier attained martyrdom. Policeman injured but stable. A terrorist killed, whose identity is yet to be ascertained,” Pani informed.
According to reports, a cordon was laid in a forest area near Haalan-Qond village of Qazigund at about 6:30 Tuesday morning.
Sources in the area said that gunshots were heard soon after the cordon was laid, but the guns fell silent soon after.
A police source confirmed that contact was lost with the militants initially, but was re-established by about 11 AM, following which gunfire was one again exchanged.
“Intense fire was exchanged with the militants, leaving one of them dead and an army man killed. A policeman was also injured,” the police source said.
The operation is yet to be declared over officially.
Intense clashes erupted in the area soon after contact with the militants was established the second time.
Local sources said that hundreds of people came out to try reach the site of the encounter, in a bid to provide the militants an escape route.
The government forces foiled the attempts of the people and used tear-smoke shells to disperse them.
Nobody was reported injured during the clashes.
Meanwhile in Tral town of Pulwama, a cordon and search operation ended peacefully in Laam area.
A senior police official told Kashmir Reader that a few warning shots were fired by the government forces in the area but there was no response by militants.
“The operation was called off shortly after,” the official said.
In the wake of the encounter in Kulgam and the CASO in Tral, mobile internet services were suspended across south Kashmir from early Tuesday morning.
Broadband internet speed was also reduced by the government authorities. The internet services were still in such state when last reports came in.