‘Militants believed to have escaped’
Anantnag: A civilian was killed while an army soldier was injured during a gunfight, between government forces and militants, in Kulgam district on Friday afternoon.
The militants are believed to have fled the area, even as search operations are being conducted by the forces. “The cordon has been tightened and a hunt is on to try and relocate the militants,” a senior police official from the area said.
The slain civilian was identified as Manzoor Lone son of Abdullah Lone of Redwani Bala Kulgam. The Injured Army soldier was identified as Kiran Singh of 1RR of Ramban.
The gunfight took place in Redwini area of Kulgam district, where a cordon and search operation was initiated by the government forces late Friday morning. “We had specific inputs regarding the presence of the militants in the area,” the official said.
He added that as the area was being surrounded the militants, sensing trouble, opened indiscriminate fire on the forces personnel part of the cordoning detail. “The fire was retaliated, triggering a gunfight. It was during this exchange of fire that the army man and the civilian were injured,” the official said.
He added that the militants took the cover of indiscriminate fire to change their location. No further contact has been established with the militants, after the initial exchange of fire.
“We believe they would not have gotten that far and can be relocated. That is why the search operation has been intensified,” the official said. Today’s gunfight was the first in the month of August.
Earlier on July 30, a local militant was killed in a gunfight with government forces in the Baramulla district of North Kashmir. The last fortnight or so has seen a severe dip in the number of gunfights and militants killed in an otherwise bloody year.
More than 120 militants have been killed in the year thus far, 32 of them non-locals believed to be Pakistani nationals. Militants have also been carrying out attacks on government forces, civilians affiliated with political parties, on-leave policemen, non-locals, and members of the Kashmiri Pandit community.