Three militants, soldier killed in Batote gunfight

Another militant killed in Ganderbal

Ramban: Three militants and an Army man were killed in gunfight in Batote area along the Jammu-Kishtwar national highway on Saturday, according to officials, while another suspected militant was killed in Ganderbal district of central Kashmir.
A top Hizbul Mujahideen ‘commander’, wanted in connection with the assassination of a senior BJP leader and an RSS functionary, was killed along with two other militants in a nine-hour operation in which a jawan lost his life in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, officials said.
The militants, identified as Osama and his associates Zahid and Farooq, were killed after they tried to escape from a house where they had barged in while being chased by government forces following a brief exchange of fire in Batote area along Jammu-Kishtwar highway early this morning, they said, adding a house-owner was also rescued after the encounter ended.
Officials said Osama was the brain behind the killings of senior BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar on November 1, 2018 and RSS functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO on April 9.
He was carrying a reward of several lakhs of rupees and was also wanted in three weapon snatching incidents in Kishtwar town.
“All the three terrorists were killed in the gunfight, while an army soldier also achieved martyrdom,” Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand told PTI.
The deceased soldier was identified as Naik Rajinder Singh from Jaisalmer. Two policemen were injured in the gunbattle, officials said, adding a huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered from the possession of the militant.
While naming Osama and five other militants, the IGP had on September 23 said the security forces are after them and they will be brought to book soon.
“Today (Saturday) morning at about 7.30 am, two suspicious individuals tried to stop a civilian vehicle at the general area Batote on the highway. The driver was alert, did not stop the vehicle and rushed and informed the nearest Army post.
“The quick reaction team reacted promptly and contact was established with the suspicious individuals,” Lt Col Anand said.
Following a brief encounter at Dharmund village of Batote this morning, the fleeing militants intruded into a residential house with some shops on the ground floor, the officials said adding the house was immediately cordoned off by search parties comprising Army, police and CRPF and the encounter re-started at around 1 pm.
The elderly house owner, Vijay Kumar, was “trapped” in the house while rest of his family managed to come out and were subsequently evacuated to safety, the officials said.
Kumar, who locals claimed was a BJP worker, was rescued after the encounter ended.
Earlier, a police spokesman said that they had information about the presence of five militants in the house based on the inputs provided by the rescued family.
“Repeated attempts were made to make the terrorists surrender but they tried to buy time so that they can make an attempt to flee the house by taking advantage of darkness later in the day,” an official said adding when the cordon was being tightened, the militants fired indiscriminately.
Later, they came out of the house while firing indiscriminately on the forces but were eliminated in the encounter.
The movement of traffic on the highway was stopped following the incident as a precautionary measure, they said adding the traffic will be restored as soon as possible once the area is sanitised. Meanwhile, an unidentified militant was killed in an encounter with government forces in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, the Army said.
An encounter broke out between militants and security forces in the Trumkhal area, in the upper reaches of Ganderbal this morning, an Army official said.
He said one militant was killed in the gunbattle.
A weapon was recovered from the scene of the encounter.

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