Anantnag: After engaging government forces in a gunfight for several hours in an orchard here in Dooru area of Anantnag district, two Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants who the police believe to be Pakistani nationals were killed in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
Till evening there was no official word yet on the ascertained identity of the slain militants.
The gunfight broke out late Friday night, soon after forces began a cordon and search operation (CASO) in Shistergam village of Dooru. Police said they had “strong inputs regarding presence of militants.”
A senior police official told Kashmir Reader that the militants were hiding in a house, apparently, and tried to flee soon after the cordon was laid.
“They used indiscriminate fire as cover while trying to escape. But the watertight cordon confined them to an orchard nearby, where they were finally killed in the wee hours of this morning,” the police officer said.
He added that arms and ammunition, along with some “incriminating” material, was retrieved from their possession.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that there was intense firing late Friday night, following which there was a long lull.
“The firing resumed in the wee hours briefly and stopped again, apparently after the militants were killed,” the local sources said.
At the break of dawn, hundreds of people tried to march towards the site of the gunfight but were dispersed by forces by tear smoke shells.
Clashes then broke out in other parts of Dooru and continued through most of the day. A shutdown was observed in most parts of Anantnag district as well.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people had assembled at the house of an active Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant, Asif Ahmad Malik alias Ukasha of Verinag area, following rumours that he was one of the slain militants.
When it became clear that Asif was not among the slain militants, the people assembled offered a funeral prayer in absentia for the two slain militants and dispersed.
Later in the day, the JeM issued a press release owning the slain militants.
“Their sacrifices will yield results,” the statement read. “We will continue to fight till the last Indian soldier is in Kashmir.”
The outfit, in the statement, vowed to avenge the “martyrs”.