Shopian: A teenager was among two Al-Badr militants killed in an overnight gunfight with government forces at Reban village in Shopian’s Zainpora area on Sunday. The slain militants were identified as Nawaz Ahmad Wagay of Reban village of Shopian and 18-year-old Yawar Ahmad Wani of Bhatnor village of Pulwama. One AK-47 rifle and one pistol was recovered from their possession, police said.
Internet services were suspended in Shopian district at Saturday midnight for some hours when the gunfight broke out, but were restored in the morning. Police sources told Kashmir Reader that the encounter at Reban concluded by pre-dawn with the killing of the two militants.
Earlier, two militants were killed on November 6 at Safnagri village of Shopian and a civilian and a militant were killed in an encounter on November 3 at Gagren village on the outskirts of Shopian town. A police officer said that the nocturnal encounters saw no clashes or collateral damage.
Villagers from Reban told Kashmir Reader that they heard gunshots at midnight and later came to know that an encounter was going on in the village. Witnesses said that both the slain militants were trapped in the house of Nawaz’s uncle and were killed in its courtyard within some hours. They added that there were no damages to the house except to the glasses of some windowpanes. The firing started around 3:30am and ended by 5am, they said.
A police spokesperson in a handout said that based on credible inputs about the presence of militants, a cordon and search operation was launched by the forces in Reban village. As the search operation was going on, militants opened fire on the forces, triggering an encounter, police said.
“Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter,” the police statement said, and added that police have registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter.
In their statement, police requested people to not venture inside the encounter zone as it can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. “People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any,” the statement said.
A massive throng of mourners bid farewell to Nawaz at Reban where he was laid to rest amid pro-freedom, anti-India and pro-militant slogans. Witnesses said that thousands of people including men, women and children attended the funeral of the slain militant. They said that five rounds of funeral prayers were offered to Nawaz by thousands of people who came from Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag districts.
Similarly, thousands of people bid farewell to Yawar Ahmad at his ancestral village of Bhatnora in district Kulgam. Witnesses said that women were seen beating their chests and wailing while offering goodbyes to the young man. They said that people raised pro-freedom, anti-India and pro-militant slogans during the funeral prayers. They said that Yawar was 18 years old.