House near Balhama encounter site damaged in fire

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PAMPORE: A residential house was damaged in a mysterious fire incident near the encounter site at Balhama, Pantha Chowk area of Srinagar.
Eyewitnesses told Kashmir Reader that fire broke out in the house of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat on Sunday morning and was completely damaged. Three residential houses were also damaged during gunfight on Thursday.
A police official told Kashmir Reader that family members were not present in the house when it suffered damage. He said police are investigating the cause of the fire.
The gunfight started on Thursday afternoon at Balhama after militants tried to snatch the rifles of policemen guarding BJP leader. Two local militants, Rasiq Nabi Bhat alias Owais of Nowdal, Tral, and Shabir Ahmad Dar of Aghanjipora, Awantipora, were killed in the encounter. Body of third militant, a foreigner, identified as Abu Hamas was recovered on Saturday from the debris while government forces were clearing the encounter site from stray explosive devices.
Meanwhile, senior Hurriyat Conference leader Agha Syed Hassan on Sunday visited Balhama to express solidarity with the families whose houses were damaged during the encounter. A complete shutdown was observed on third consecutive day on Sunday in parts of Pulwama and Srinagar to mourn the killing of the two local militants.
All shops and business establishments were closed in Tral, Awantipora, Balhama and Khanmoh areas while public transport was off the roads.