Hideout blasted with explosives, intense clashes near encounter site and in Chursoo Awantipora
Anantnag: Three militants, two of the Hizbul Mujahideen and one of Jaish-e-Mohammad, were killed in a gunfight with government forces on Thursday here in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
An army soldier was wounded during the gunfight and was airlifted to army’s Udhampur base hospital for specialised treatment.
The militants killed have been identified as Zubair Ahmad Bhat alias Abu Huraira, son of Bashir Ahmad Bhat, resident of Chursoo, Awantipora; Shakoor Ahmad Parray alias Jaffar, son of Ghulam Nabi Parray, resident of Laribal Tral; and Tawseef Ahmad Thoker alias Abu Talha, son of Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Thoker, resident of Chursoo, Awantipora.
The gunfight took place in Gulshanpora village of Tral, where the militants were holed up in a hideout.
“We had inputs regarding presence of militants in the area. While the cordon was being laid at about 8:00 AM this morning, the militants opened indiscriminate fire leaving an army man injured,” a senior police officer of Awantipora told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the fire was retaliated and in the ensuing gunfight the militants were killed.
“Bodies of the militants were retrieved, along with weapons, and they were identified. The bodies have been handed over to families following medico-legal formalities,” the officer said.
Local sources told Kashmir Reader that government forces blasted the hideout where the militants were hiding, after a couple of hours of halt in firing from the militants’ side.
While the gunfight was going on, hundreds of local youth assembled outside the cordon detail and pelted the government forces with stones in a bid to give the militants a chance to escape.
The government forces, local sources said, used tear smoke shells and aerial firing to disperse the stone-pelting youth.
“The youth, however, kept regrouping and the clashes continued near the site of the gunfight. The clashes spilled over to many other adjoining villages,” sources said, adding that several people were injured in forces’ action against the protestors, who were treated locally.
Clashes also erupted in Charsoo area of Awantipora after news about killing of local militants reached the village. Hundreds of youths clashed with government forces along the national highway, following which traffic on the highway came to a halt briefly.
Forces fired tear smoke shells and pellets in Charsoo to disperse the protesting youth, local sources said.
Later in the day, police handed the bodies of the militants to their families. Thousands of people, despite restrictions imposed in the area, reached Charsoo and Laribal villages to attend funeral prayers of the slain.
The funeral prayers were being held when this report was filed.
Internet services were snapped by authorities in police district Awantipora early Thursday morning. The services were yet to be restored at the time of filing this report.