Police say major tragedy averted, rocket launcher, grenades recovered
Anantnag: The J&K Police on Friday said that a major attack had been averted ahead of Independence Day, given the nature of arms and ammunition retrieved from the site of the gunfight, with the killing of a Pakistani militant who was trapped in a house after attacking a BSF convoy in Mirbazar area along the NH-44 in Kulgam police district.
The slain militant was identified as Usman, a Pakistani national. “He had been active for 6 months in Kashmir,” a police spokesperson said.
“A major tragedy has been averted, ahead of Independence Day, as after a long time foreign terrorists have used RPGs. Besides an AK-47, rocket launcher and grenade cells were recovered from the site of the gunfight,” the spokesperson quoted IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar as saying.
Kumar was monitoring the operation himself, along with GOC Victor Force Rashim Bali, and some senior officials from the paramilitary CRPF.
A CRPF personnel and two civilians were also injured during the gunfight, with police maintaining that the two civilians were injured “far away from the site by stray projectiles.”
“22 civilians, including 12 shopkeepers, 6 women, and 4 non-local labourers were rescued and taken to safer places as the gunfight raged,” the police spokesperson said.
The injured civilians were later identified as 25-year-old Sahil Yaqoob Bhat, a resident of Danter area in Anantnag, and 22-year-old Shahid Farooq Sheikh, a resident of Larm village in Kulgam district.
“Sahil had a bullet wound in his lower abdomen and Shahid in his right thigh. They were shifted to hospital and are stable now,” a senior police official from the area said.
At about 2:45 PM Thursday, militants opened fire at a BSF convoy in Mirbazar along the NH-44, following which they took shelter in a nearby house after they were spotted and chased by the government forces.
“It was a huge concrete building they took shelter in, and immediately an exchange of fire started. The encounter continued for several hours before the guns fell silent. The body of a Pakistani militant, along with arms and ammunition, was retrieved from the site of the gunfight,” the police official said.
Earlier, police had maintained that the militants were more than one in number. Subsequently, there has been no word on the number of militants. “We will write about it in detail in a press release,” the police official said.
He said that the body of the militant has been sent to an undisclosed location in north Kashmir for burial, after completion of medico-legal formalities.
Meanwhile, traffic on NH-44 was restored after the operation was concluded. The traffic had been diverted through alternate routes for more than 12 hours as the gunfight raged.