Another militant killed as Lethpora encounter ends, toll reaches 8


Srinagar: The counter-operation launched by government forces against the militants who attacked a CRPF camp in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district ended on Monday following the killing of another militant, police said.

“An unidentified militant was killed in Lethpora Pulwama early Monday morning to cap the two-day gunfight between militants and government forces,” police sources said.

With the killing of the militant, the death toll in the suicide attack reached to eight-five of them CRPF men and remaining three were ‘fidayeen (suicide) attackers”—two of whom have been identified as Manzoor Ahmad Baba son of Ali Mohammad Baba of Drubgam Pulwama and Fardeen Ahmad Khanday son of Ghulam Mohammad Khanday, sources said.

“The identity of the third militant could not be ascertained,” the sources added.

Earlier, five paramilitary CRPF men and two Jash-e-Mohammad militants were killed and their bodies recovered on Sunday.

The Jaish militants carried out the attack at around 2:30 am on Sunday by opening indiscriminate fire and lobbing grenades inside the camp situated in Lethpora area of the district, an official said.

“All the attackers later entered inside the training centre of CRPF 185 battalion and engaged the troops in a fierce gun battle,” they said.

The 4-storey building consisted of 3 blocks. The block-one was used for officer’s family accommodation, 2nd block as main office while block three as a camp, which was the target of the suicide squad.

Soon after the attack, reinforcement of army’s special forces and SOG rushed to the spot and cordoned off the whole area amid a fierce gunfight.

In the initial exchange of gunfight, three paramilitary CRPF men were injured and one of them, Constable Sharief-ud-din Ganaie of Chadoora Budgam died at 92 Base hospital where all the injured were shifted to.

The two injured constables, injured initially, Narender, who sustained bullet injuries on his calf muscle and Malve Samadhan (bullet injuries on his right shoulder) were admitted in the hospital and they are stated to be out of danger.

Later, four other personnel sustained bullet injuries and three of them— Tuafail Ahmed of Rajouri, Rajendra Nain of Churu Rajasthan and Pradeep Kr Panda succumbed to injuries while Kuldip Roy (inspector), a resident of Tikkar Khatrian HP, died of cardiac arrest.

Another injured personnel, Mala Ram, is recuperating in the 92-Base hospital, they said.

Police said that three AK-47 rifles and eight grenades were recovered from the site of the gunfight.

Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in last rites of slain militants despite restrictions.

In south Kashmir’s Tral, thousands of people participated in the funeral of Jaish militant Fardeen Ahmad Khandey, son of Ghulam Mohammad Khanday, a serving police head constable.

According to the eyewitness, as the body of Fardeen, a 16-year-old was taken towards a local ground in Nazneenpora village, thousands of men, women and children lined the streets, raising pro-freedom, pro-militant and pro-Islam slogans.

Sources said that four rounds of funeral prayers were held at the local ground in which thousands of people took part after which he was laid to rest amid pro-freedom slogans.

They added a huge posse of army men, CRPF and police placed a cordon outside, ostensibly to prevent militants from reaching the funeral and offer gun-salutes as militants often have been appearing in funeral of their associates and offer gun salutes.

In Drabgam, clashes erupted on Monday morning after mourners who were visiting there from different parts of South Kashmir were not allowed to take part in the last rites of slain militant Manzoor Ahmad Baba. Four youth were injured among them one was hit by bullet who was shifted to Srinagar where his condition is said to be stable

Meanwhile, despite restrictions thousands marched to Drabgam village and took part in last rites of the slain militant Manzoor Ahmad Baba, who was laid to rest in his native village after multiple funeral prayers amid pro freedom and pro Islamic slogans.

Eye witnesses said that in a similar way like in Tral town forces had laid an outer cordon to prevent militants from reaching the village to offer gun salute.

The people staged protest and started hurling rocks on the forces, in retaliation forces resorted to firing and teargas shells to disperse the protesters.

Meanwhile, clashes were also reported from Pampore, Awantipora and Tahab area of the district against the militant killings. Further, a complete shutdown was observed in whole southern district against the killing of militants.

Sources said that all business establishments and shops remained closed in the district while as public transport was also off the roads.


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