Pulwama: A local Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant was killed and another was wounded, and subsequently hospitalised, in a gunfight with government forces in the wee hours of Saturday morning here in Babgund village of Pulwama district.
The slain militant has been identified as Shabir Ahmad Dar alias Maali, a resident of Samboora village in Pulwama district. The injured militant has been identified as Showkat Ahmad Dar, resident of Murran village in Pulwama. He was later in the day admitted to SMHS hospital in Srinagar by some men and women.
“He has been operated upon but his condition remains critical,” a doctor at SMHS told Kashmir Reader.
The gunfight took place at two different places – some hundred meters apart – in Babgund village, as the militants managed to escape from the first spot but were trapped at another spot later.
A senior police officer from Pulwama told Kashmir Reader that the Babgund area was cordoned off at about 2:00 AM following inputs regarding presence of militants there.
“As the cordon was being laid, the militants opened indiscriminate fire and managed to sneak out in the dark,” the police officer said, adding that the government forces retaliated to the gunfire and injured one of the militants.
The militants took refuge in a residential house some hundred meters from the first point of contact. The forces were able to track the militants down, given an elaborate cordon was in place.
“A fresh exchange of fire took place at the second place in which one of the militants was killed and the other two managed to escape, including the injured one,” the police officer said.
He acknowledged that the injured militant has been admitted to SMHS hospital in Srinagar.
Sources in the police said that the third militant, believed to be Zahoor Thoker, an army man who deserted and joined militant ranks, has also been injured.
“But his injuries are stated to be minor and he did not need to be admitted to hospital,” a police source told Kashmir Reader.
Meanwhile, stone-pelting and tear smoke shelling was reported from around the site of the encounter at the break of dawn. No one was reported injured during these clashes.
Later in the day, the body of Shabir Ahmad Dar was handed over to his family in Samboora. People in thousands had reached Samboora village well before the body arrived. A massive gathering offered funeral prayers for the slain and militants also appeared to offer a gun salute to their fallen associate.
Dar was buried at the local graveyard amid anti-India, pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogans.
The authorities had placed strict restrictions in areas of Pulwama to prevent any protests throughout the day. A spontaneous shutdown was observed in many parts of Pulwama district.
Authorities also snapped mobile internet services which had already been reduced to 2G speed for the past many days in wake of the municipal elections.
Train services were also suspended on the Srinagar-Banihal track during the day.