Hizb militant killed in encounter at Shopian orchard

Hizb militant killed in encounter at Shopian orchard

Shopian: A local Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant was killed in an early morning encounter that took place in an apple orchard at Narwani village in Shopian district on Friday. A militant hideout in the orchard was also busted by government forces during the operation, police said.
The slain militant was identified as Sameer Ahmad Seh, son of Abdul Aziz Seh, resident of Sugan village of Shopian.
Sameer, according to family sources, has left behind two brothers, a sister, and his mother and father. They said that he took up arms in May 2018 and since then was active in the area.
Locals said that Sameer had at first joined Al-Badr militant outfit but after the killing of commander Zeenat ul Islam, he joined Hizb.
Locals from Sugan believe that the assault and vandalism by government forces in Sugan village in May last year, after an IED (improvised explosive device) hit an army vehicle outside Sugan village, was the trigger behind Sameer’s taking up of arms.
Clashes also erupted near the gunfight site with protesting youths hurling stones at government forces. Locals said that four persons sustained minor pellet injuries after government forces fired tear smoke shells and pellets at the protestors. Three of the injured, according to locals, were treated locally but one was shifted to a hospital.
Police sources said that on “inputs about the presence of a group of militants”, a cordon and search operation was launched by a joint team of forces including 44 Rashtriya Rifles of army, special operations group (SOG) of police, and paramilitary central reserve police force (CRPF) at Narwani village before dawn. They said that when the search party headed towards a suspected spot, hiding militants fired on the forces. A brief exchange of gunfire took place in which one militant was killed.
Locals from Narwani said that they saw the army arrive at about 4am, which was followed by a gunfight in the post-dawn hours. They said that the encounter took place in an apple orchard situated between Amarbug and Narwani villages.
Police said that a militant hideout was busted near the encounter site. They said that a gas cylinder, food items, blankets and utensils were recovered from the hideout.
The body of Sameer was handed over to his family after official formalities. Thousands of people took part in his funeral prayers at his native village Sugan where pro-freedom and anti-India slogans were raised.
Sameer was laid to rest in the afternoon after multiple rounds of funeral prayers were conducted. His relatives and village women were seen wailing and beating their chests during the funeral.