Family of 14-yr-old who joined militant ranks 70 hours ago brought to the site
Shopian: A day after seven militants were killed in south Kashmir, two more encounters were underway in two separate villages in the region on Saturday.
Police said that an unidentified militant had been killed while two others were still trapped in the cordon laid by government forces around orchards in Chitragam Kalan village in Shopian district. Two army soldiers, according to a police official, were injured during the encounter.
On Saturday afternoon, when people were busy in their orchards between Chitragam Kalan and Bandpow villages, a loud exchange of fire was heard, which made them rush for safety to their homes. According to locals, soon after the exchange of fire, more troops were seen rushing towards the site.
Locals said that youths threw stones at the government forces at Chitragam market and the forces retaliated with tear smoke shells, stun grenades and pellets. However, there were no reports of any injury from either side.
The operation was temporarily halted while the militants were asked to surrender through the use of loudspeakers by the government forces.
A senior police official told Kashmir Reader that one militant had been killed in the Chitragam encounter while the family of 14-year-old Faisal Gulzar of Chitragam-Kalan, who joined militant ranks just 70 hours ago, had been brought to the site to appeal to their son to lay down arms and surrender.
“We brought the family of 14-year-old Faisal here to persuade him to surrender. After 15 minutes we will give him one more opportunity. After that we will see what to do,” he said.
A police official said that a total of three militants are trapped in the encounter. He said that the cordon and search operation was launched jointly by police and 34 Rashtriya Rifles of army.
Faisal, according to his father Gulzar Ahmad, is the lone son of parents and the brother of four sisters. “He is studying in Class 10 in a private school at Zainpora,” Gulzar Ahmad Ganie told Kashmir Reader.
The third militant who is trapped in the encounter, according to police sources, is Asif Ahmad, also a resident of Chitragam.
When all this was happening, a residential house at Chitragam village lit up in flames, at which the local people rushed to douse the flames. The cause of fire according to locals is believed to be the bursting of an LPG cylinder.
The second gunfight is underway at Samthen area, on outskirts of Bejbrahara town. According to police sources, this gunfight is also taking place in an open space in an orchard area.
Police sources said that traffic movement on the old national highway, from Sangam to Batengo, has been diverted on to the new road to avoid any untoward incident.
Locals said that there is a lull prevailing at the site after the first exchange of fire between militants and government forces.
Police sources said that searches are going on while a strong cordon is intact.
Internet services in Anantnag district have been barred by the government after news of the encounter broke out.
Meanwhile, people in Shopian district on Saturday observed a complete shutdown for the second consecutive day against the killing of five militants at one of the town’s mosque in Jan-Mohala locality.
The toll of militants killed in the district in the past 29 days has reached 14, excluding those who are trapped in the ongoing encounter.
Mobile internet services in Shopian district continue to remain suspended since Thursday afternoon when an encounter broke out in Shopian town.