SHOPIAN: Militants escaped after a brief exchange of gunfire with government forces past Sunday midnight at Sangdan village of this south Kashmir district. There were intense clashes after dawn in the village when forces were withdrawing from the area.
Sangdan village is situated some nine kilometers from district headquarters Shopian. Internet services were snapped in the entire district at midnight when the exchange of gunfire began. The services were restored in the morning soon after the forces withdrew.
Witnesses from Sangdan village told Kashmir Reader that a cordon and search operation (CASO) had been launched there by a joint team of forces. They said that searches of various residential houses were carried out and in the night they heard sound of heavy gunfire, which lasted for about 15 minutes, creating panic in the residential area.
Police sources said that the CASO was launched at about 3am. They said that the hiding militants fired upon forces during searches, at about 5am. The militants took advantage of darkness to escape from the site. A police officer said that when forces were withdrawing from the area in the morning after carrying out searches, there were stone-pelting incidents but “forces contained the protesters peacefully”.
As many as 15 militants have been killed in Shopian district in five different encounters last month. Two civilians were also killed near the encounter sites. About a dozen persons were abducted by militants last month among whom three were killed by them for allegedly providing information about presence of militants.