Pulwama: A district commander was among two Hizbul Mujahideen militants killed in a brief, early Saturday morning gunfight here in Tikken village of Pulwama district.
The slain militants have been identified as Liyaqat Wani of Bellow village and Wajidul Islam of Babhara village, both in Pulwama district.
Wani was an active militant since about January 2016 and was made the southern district’s commander after Sameer Tiger was killed in April this year. Wani’s father was also a Hizb militant during the nineties and was also killed in a gunfight with government forces, in his own village.
Wajidul Islam, on the other hand, had joined militant ranks only recently.
AN operation was launched by government forces in Tukken village at 6:00 AM Saturday, following inputs regarding presence of militants in the area, officials said.
“The militants were hiding in a residential house, which was identified during the search operation and zeroed in on by our men,” a senior police official told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the militants opened indiscriminate fire in a bid to escape from the spot.
“The fire was duly retaliated and both the militants were neutralised in the operation,” the police official said.
He told Kashmir Reader that the bodies were retrieved along with weapons and some “incriminating” material.
“The bodies were handed over to the families after medico-legal formalities,” he said.
There were no clashes around the site of the gunfight as the operation was initiated and concluded in early hours of the day.
Clashes erupted later, though, during the day in many parts of the district, where government forces used tear smoke shells to push back the crowds of youths.
Meanwhile, thousands of people reached Bellow and Babhara villages to attend multiple funeral prayers held for the slain militants.
The militants were buried at their local graveyards amid pro-freedom, anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans.
Internet services were snapped soon after the gunfight started in the area and were yet to be restored when this report was filed.