House blown apart with explosives
Anantnag: Three local militants, among them a Hurriyat Conference leader’s son who had left his engineering degree to join militant ranks, were killed on Friday in a gunfight with government forces here in Tral area of Pulwama district.
While the official word on the identity of the militants is yet to be received, sources have identified all the three militants to be residents of Tral.
The slain militants have been identified as Muhammad Qasim Shah alias Jugnu, of Midoora; Basit Ahmad Parray, a resident of Laribal; and Haris Manzoor Bhat, a resident of Koil, Shikargah.
Shah was the son of Ghulam Muhammad, the Tral President of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani. He had joined militant ranks in 2017, leaving his B.Tech degree in Chandigarh midway.
“He was a close friend of Zakir Rashid Bhat, alias Zakir Moosa, the slain commander of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind,” a source in the police told Kashmir Reader.
Parray was the cousin of slain militants Ishaq Parray (alias Newton), Tariq Parray and Shakoor Parray. “He was also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. He left it midway to join Hizb in May, earlier this year,” the police source said.
Harris Bhat was the nephew of a Hizb commander in the ’90s, Gowhar Bhat, sources said, adding that Gowhar was also killed in a gunfight with government forces.
The gunfight today took place in Chewa-Ullar village of Tral, in the jurisdiction of police district Awantipora. The operation in the area was launched late Thursday evening, following inputs regarding presence of militants in the area, a senior police official said.
“The operation was suspended owing to darkness. In the wee hours today contact was established with the hiding militants and they were asked to surrender,” the police official said, adding that the militants chose to fire instead.
He said that the fire was retaliated and all the three militants were killed in the exchange of fire. “Bodies have been retrieved along with arms and ammunition. We are trying to ascertain their identities,” he said.
Sources in the police said that the bodies will be taken to north Kashmir for burial, as has become a norm now. A few members of the slain militant’s family are allowed to only attend the burial.
Local sources informed Kashmir Reader that the house where militants were holed up was razed to ground with explosives by the government forces.
The authorities snapped mobile internet services across police district Awantipora late Thursday evening and these were yet to be restored when this report was filed.
The communication gag, however, did little to prevent clashes around the site of the gunfight, local sources said.
“Hundreds of youth tried to march towards the site of the gunfight. They were dispersed by forces by using tear smoke shells and pellet guns. They, however, kept regrouping and the clashes continued,” the sources said.