Gunfight underway on Srinagar outskirts

Gunfight underway on Srinagar outskirts
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Reports say militants had come to offer funeral prayers for Hizb militant when army intercepted them

Pampore/Srinagar: A gun battle between militants and government forces is on in Balhama area of Khanmoh on outskirts of Srinagar from Thursday afternoon. According to the police, three militants are trapped in two houses at Balhama and are engaging the government forces in a gunfight, after their bid to snatch the rifles of personal security officers (PSOs) of a BJP leader was foiled.
“The militants fired upon the PSOs of political activist Dr Anwar Khan when he was visiting Arsh institute at Khanmoh area on the outskirts of Srinagar city. The incident happened outside the institute where the PSOs were present,” the police stated.
Police said that the PSOs repulsed the attack “while exhibiting extreme caution to avoid any collateral damage, causing the militants to flee from the spot”.
“One PSO, namely Bilal Ahmad, has sustained minor injuries,” police stated.
Following the attack, police and other government forces cordoned off the area. Police said that the militants were found holed up in two houses.
Police said they suspect a total of three militants are trapped at Balhama.
“The encounter is still in progress,” Deputy Inspector General of Police, Central Kashmir, VK Bridi told Kashmir Reader.
Giving another version of the incident, reports from the area suggested that three militants had come to Khanmoh to offer funeral prayers for Hizb militant Mohammad Younis who had died because of brain hemorrhage.
The reports said that when the three militants, who were carrying weapons, crossed the road at Balhama crossing towards Pampore, they were intercepted by the army. Policemen were also standing nearby when the militants were intercepted.
Reports said that soon after, the militants opened fire and fled from the spot. They split and entered into two houses at Balhama, where more troops reached the spot.
Soon after the gunfight began, protests began in the area during which youths pelted government troops with stones. Police had to use tear smoke to disperse the protesters. The street clashes were still going on when last reports came in.
The government forces had blasted both the houses by late evening, reports added.
In a statement, police said that the policeman who sustained injuries in his leg was in stable condition.
The authorities reduced mobile internet speed in the area under police district Awantipora as a precautionary measure.