Srinagar: Two militants and a woman were killed and a dozen other civilians were injured during a gunfight between militants and government forces in South Kashmir’s Shopian district, police said.
The encounter started on Monday evening after government forces cordoned off Bata Murran village of Shopian following a tip that militants were hiding in a residential house, police said.
The trapped militants tried to escape while firing from their automatic weapons but soldiers retaliated, leading to a nightlong gunfight.
“Acting on a specific input, Shopian Police along with 44RR and 14 Bn CRPF cordoned a cluster of houses at village Bata Murran Shopian Kellar. While the cordon was being laid, hiding militants fired upon the joint search party, ensuing an encounter,” Police said in a statement.
As the fighting raged, hundreds of residents, mostly young men, poured onto the streets in solidarity with the militants, chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, witnesses said.
Police said that during the encounter, on the request of the family, police made repeated announcements for a local militant asking him to surrender. “All the attempts proved futile as the pleas were ignored,” police added.
The fighting stopped Tuesday after two militants were killed and a police official and a soldier were injured, police said.
“The militants continued firing on the security forces which was retaliated. Two JeM militants were killed in this encounter who were identified as Tanveer Ahmad from Bata Murran Shopian and Ali @Qari, a foreign terrorist. Two AK rifles and other allied ammunition were recovered from the encounter site,” police added.
Director General of Police SP Vaid said that the bodies of two militants were recovered from the encounter site.
“Bodies of two terrorists recovered so far,” he tweeted in the wee hours of Tuesday.
However, according to the sources, the encounter resumed between government forces and militants after gunshots were heard by the locals in the wee hours of Tuesday. Sources said that a militant managed to escape from the encounter site.
“Another militant fled from the encounter site by taking advantage of the darkness,” police said.
Meanwhile, clashes continued between protesters and troops who fired bullets, shotgun pellets and tear gas shells to disperse the protestors.
Police said that one civilian who was critically injured in the crossfire has succumbed. They said that the woman died in the crossfire. However, the villagers disputed that claim, saying troops fired at the protesters, killing the woman. At least 10 civilians were also injured.
“During cross firing, one woman identified as Ruby Jan also known as ‘Beauty’ wife of Manzoor Ahmad Mir of Bata Marran got critically injured who later on succumbed to her injuries at District hospital Pulwama. Nine civilians were also injured whose condition is said to be stable,” police added.
Locals also added that Ruby has an eight month old daughter, Azra who too sustained injuries after her mother was shot at.
They added that Azra also has suffered injuries and is presently being treated at a hospital. Azra, according to the locals has been put on a ventilator.
Reports said that as the news of Ruby Jan’s killing spread in the area, clashes intensified in the area resulting in injuries to over 50 persons
Hospital sources said that the injured were identified as Imran Ahmad son of Muneer Ahmad resident of Keller age 25 years, Aijaz Ahmed Dar son of Ghulam Ahmad Dar resident of Batapora shopian with bullet injury in right leg, Tahir Akbar Dar son of Mohammad Akbar resident of Gabbarpor Pulwama with bullet injury in right leg and Jahangir Ahmad Wani son of Ali muhammad Wani of Wathoo Shopian.
All of them were shifted to Srinagar for further treatment.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of the slain militant and the civilian woman.
Eyewitness said that in order to accommodate the huge rush of people seven back to back funeral prayers were held for slain militant while as three funerals were held for the slain woman.
They added that both were laid to rest in Batmuran amid pro militant, Pro Islam and pro freedom slogans.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Pulwama and Shopian districts.
All shops and other business establishments remained closed while as public traffic also remained off the roads.
Police meanwhile said that the slain militants were involved in a number of incidents including the recent attack on the vehicle of J&K Bank near Poju Shopian on 11th of December 2017 in which two bank guards were killed.