Tried to escape from a residential house by opening fire: Police
Anantnag: In the first gunfight this year between militants and government forces, three militants, believed to be associated with Hizb ul Mujahideen, were killed here in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday.
Kashmir Range Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar termed the gunfight as a brief one and confirmed that three militants were killed. “Identity of the slain militants is being ascertained,” he said.
Local sources in the police told Kashmir Reader that all the three slain militants were locals of Tral and were associated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. They identified the slain militants as Arif Sheikh, a resident of Monghama Tral; Waris Bhat, a resident of Naibugh Tral; and Ehtisham-ul-Haq, a resident of Noorpora, Tral.
“All three of them had joined the ranks recently,” the sources said. “The identification process is going on, following which the bodies will be sent to PCR Srinagar and then to north Kashmir for burial. The families of the slain have been called in for identification.”
The gunfight took place in Mandoora area of Tral at about 4:30 PM Friday afternoon, soon after a cordon and search operation (CASO) was launched in the area.
“We had inputs regarding the presence of militants in the area, following which the area was cordoned off,” a senior police officer from the area told Kashmir Reader. He said that contact was established with the militants and they were asked to lay down their arms, but they stormed out of the residential house they were holed up in and fired indiscriminately in a bid to escape.
“The fire was duly retaliated and in a brief exchange all the three militants were killed,” the police officer said, adding that the bodies along with arms and ammunition were retrieved from the site of the gunfight.
The officer said that an AK-47 rifle, two pistols and two magazines were retrieved along with some incriminating material.
This was the first gunfight in Kashmir in the year 2021, after a bloody 2020 in which more than 200 militants were killed in more than a 100 gunfights with government forces.
The year 2020 also witnessed the second-highest recruitment of militants in a decade, with about 170 young men picking up arms. The present strength of militants in Kashmir is stated to be somewhere between 160 and 170, sources in the police told Kashmir Reader.