Another armed militant seen escaping from encounter site in video
BUDGAM: A Hizbul Mujahideen militant was killed in a pre-dawn gunfight with government forces in Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Sunday.
“On a credible input, a cordon-and-search operation was launched jointly by police and security forces at Bugam, Chadoora. During the search operation, the hiding militants fired on the search party which was retaliated, leading to an encounter,” a police spokesman said.
In the ensuing encounter, he said, one militant was killed. “The militant was identified as Hilal Ahmad Bhat, son of Habibullah Bhat, a resident of Armullah area of Lassipora Pulwama,” he added.
The slain militant, he said, was affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit. “Arms and ammunition have been recovered from his possession,” the police spokesman said.
Local sources said that one to two other militants are believed to have escaped from the encounter site. “There was information that two to three militants were hiding in the area. While one was killed, the rest are believed to have escaped from the spot,” sources said.
Eyewitnesses said the encounter started in the wee hours of Sunday after forces laid a siege around the area.
“In the beginning a loud sound was heard, followed by indiscriminate firing. It created panic among the residents,” locals said.
Internet services were snapped across Budgam district soon after the gunfight began. “However, the news of the encounter spread like a forest fire and people, mostly youths, assembled near the gunfight site,” witnesses said.
Naveed, a local resident, added, “Intense clashes broke out between youths and government forces after the youths tried to breach the cordon to help the militants escape.”
During the clashes, he said, a few youths sustained minor injuries. “The encounter ended at around 10:30am with the killing of a militant,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a video that went viral on social media, a militant was seen emerging from behind grass stacks kept in an orchard and escaping unhurt from the encounter site.
In the video, people who had gathered to pelt stones on government forces could be seen helping the armed militant escape from the spot.
The authenticity of the video could not be independently confirmed.