Baramulla: Two militants who had given the slip to government forces on Wednesday evening in Pattan area of Baramulla were tracked down and killed in a gunfight in Kreeri area of Baramulla on Thursday.
A top police official in Baramulla told Kashmir Reader on the condition of anonymity that both the slain militants belonged to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant outfit. He added that arms and ammunition were recovered from their possession. He did not reveal the identity of the slain militants.
Baramulla Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Imtiyaz Hussain Mir told reporters near the encounter site that one AK-47 rifle and one Insas rifle had been recovered from the possession of the slain militants. He said that the identity of the slain militants and their affiliation with a militant group was being ascertained.
He said that police have asked locals to not go near the encounter site and have put up caution signs around the site.
Official sources said that a joint team of army, police special operations group (SOG), and paramilitary CRPF cordoned off Utoora village in Kreeri area in the wee hours of Thursday, acting on specific information. The forces conducted door-to-door searches in the village but found no trace of militants. When they reached and cordoned off Sideeq Colony locality, the militants who had taken shelter at the house of a local resident opened fire at the forces. A gunfight ensued and continued till the afternoon, in which both the militants were killed.
Official sources said that the two militants had given the slip to government forces in Hanjivera Pattan on Wednesday evening. They had reached Kreeri but the forces tracked them down and finally they were trapped in a three-storey residential house in Sideeq Colony.
Local sources said that when the gunfight started, local youths took to the streets and tried to break the cordon in a bid to help the militants escape. The clashes continued for several hours but the local youths were not able to reach the gunfight site.
On Thursday morning, when the gunfight began, government authorities shut down mobile internet services across Baramulla district to prevent the spread of news and rumours.
In the afternoon, news began doing rounds that one among the slain militants was Aqil Ahmad Sofi, son of Abdul Rashid Sofi of Sofi Mohla Khanpora. After this, local youths came out on streets and began hurling stones at government forces. The forces burst several tear smoke shells but the clashes continued for hours.
There were no reports of any injuries in these clashes, whether at Khanpora or at Utoora and Kreeri areas.
Government forces including police and CRPF blocked all roads leading to Baramulla town at several places. They did not let vehicles and passengers move beyond Khanpora, which is half a kilometre from main Baramulla town on the Srinagar-Uri highway.