Army soldier dies of bullet injury; civilians evacuated before start of gunfight
Sopore: The latest spree of encounters in Kashmir, in which more than a dozen militants and half a dozen government forces’ men have lost their lives, reached the outskirts of Sopore town in the wee hours of Friday. An army soldier and two militants, who have not been identified as yet, were killed in the gunfight that took place in Pazalpora village in Behrampore area of Sopore here.
Mobile internet services in Sopore, Baramulla and Rafiabad areas had already been suspended by authorities after the Thursday morning encounter at Kreeri area of Baramulla district in which two local militants were killed. An order passed by the district administration also meant that no classes were held at educational institutions in the district on Friday.
Government forces conducted a cordon and search operation on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday at Pazalpora locality after receiving “inputs of the presence of militants”. As door-to-door searches were being conducted, two militants holed up in a house lobbed grenades and a brief exchange of gunfire ensued during the night. In this gunfire an army soldier sustained bullet injury. He later succumbed at the army’s Badami Bagh hospital in Srinagar.
The killed soldier was identified as Brajesh Kumar of 22 RR Battalion posted at Sopore.
After the brief exchange of gunfire, government forces evacuated civilians from the locality. The gunfight resumed after that and continued for a couple of hours in the morning amid blasts carried out with explosives.
Later in the day, police issued a statement saying, “In Pazalpora area of Behrampure village of Sopore today, Sopore Police, 22 RR army and CRPF forces jointly launched a search operation based on credible inputs about the presence of militants in the area. In the ensuing encounter, two militants were eliminated. Some arms, ammunition and incriminating material was recovered from the site of encounter. Police has registered a case in this regard and the investigation has been initiated in the instant matter.”
The house in which the militants were hiding and were later killed sustained minor damage during the encounter, witnesses said.