Kupwara operation called off, but ‘hundreds of troops’ stay

Kupwara operation called off, but ‘hundreds of troops’ stay
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Forests being thoroughly combed, locals say; bodies buried discreetly on Kupwara outskirts

Kupwara: Three days after it began, the counter-insurgency operation in forests near Halmatpora village in Kupwara was called off on Thursday afternoon. Five as yet unidentified militants, three army soldiers, and two policemen lost their lives in the fierce and long gunfight that took place in the dense woods of this north Kashmir mountainous area near the Line of Control (LoC). People living in Halmatpora and adjoining villages told Kashmir Reader that that hundreds of troops of army, para commandos, police, and paramilitary CRPF remain in the area and are combing the forests to nab the other militants that they believe to have escaped from the encounter site on Wednesday.
Local sources said that government forces have also cordoned the Batargam forest ranges and are thoroughly searching them for any sign of the escaped militants. The sources said that government forces also searched several houses in Batargam village and checked identity cards of people living there.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kupwara, Shamshar Hussain, told Kashmir Reader that the operation was officially called off on Thursday afternoon after the recovery of the fifth militant’s body. “Yes, we called off the operation this afternoon. We recovered all the five dead bodies of militants but their identity is yet not confirmed,” the SSP said.
A senior army officer said that the army recovered five dead bodies of militants and handed them over to the local police. He said that all the dead militants are believed to be non-locals, presumably from Pakistan, and that they were living in the dense forests for several weeks.
Bodies buried 20 kms from Kupwara town
The police on Thursday morning buried all the five bodies of unidentified militants in Marsari area of Kupwara. Sources said that the bodies were first taken to Police Lines Kupwara from where they were shifted to Marsari Chokibal, about 20 kilometres from Kupwara town, and buried there discreetly.
The bodies of two militants were said to be completely damaged. Locals of the area demanded that the bodies of the militants be handed over to them for burial but the police refused to do so and buried them far away from the town.