5 militants dead in encounter in south Kashmir
LeT, Hizbul militants among dead; forces recover weapons, warlike stores from encounter site
SRINAGAR: Five militants believed to be part of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba were killed in a gunfight with security forces in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, the police said on Sunday, making it the deadliest incident of violence in the Valley this year. Five AK-47 rifles and other ammunition were recovered from the site, police said. Soon after the eight-hour operation, clashes broke out between the forces and locals, who allegedly began pelting stones.
SRINAGAR: Five militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba were killed in a gunfight with security forces in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, the police said on Sunday, hours after this year’s deadliest incident of violence in the Valley.
A joint party of the army, police, and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) launched a cordon and search operation early on Sunday after information about the presence of militants in Kellam area.
Kulgam senior superintendent of police Harmeet Singh Mehta said forces had information that the militants were hiding in a house, which was cordoned off before sunrise and the militants were asked to surrender.“They did not pay heed and opened fire after which we retaliated,” said Mehta.
“The encounter continued for about eight hours. Five militants were killed and five AK-47 rifles and other ammunition were recovered from them. The house in which they were hiding was also damaged,”he said.
Army spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia said the forces recovered weapons and warlike stores from the encounter site.
A police spokesperson said all militants were local residents and part of a combined group of the homegrown Hizbul Mujahideen and the Pakistanbased Lashkar-e-Taiba.
They were identified as Waseem Ahmad Rather, Aqib Nazir Mir, Parvaiz Ahmad Bhat, Idrees Ahmad Bhat and Zahid Ahmad Parray. The spokesperson said Waseem, Aqib and Parvaiz were involved in the killings of a civilian and a local armyman. “This group of terrorists was also involved in various grenade attack incidents across Anantnag and Kulgam districts for which cases stand registered in concerned Police Stations,” the spokesman said.
Clashes broke out near the encounter site after local people allegedly pelted stones at the forces. Authorities stopped internet services in the area to stop further escalation of tension.Rafi Ahmad Salati, Kulgam’s block medical officer, said about 20 people were injured by pellets. “While eight were treated at the district hospital, six each were taken to Anantnag hospital and Kelam health centres. The injured are stable,” he said. The police asked people not to venture near the encounter zone and requested them to cooperate with the police until the area was completely sanitised and cleared of all explosive materials. Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tweeted, “Deeply saddened by the martyrdom of 5 young boys in #Kulgam as the tyranny of #OperationAllOut, #CASO (cordon and search operations) continues against the people of #SouthKashmir, pelleted injured and blinded even in such harsh winter by the brutal and ruthless Indian state.”
Kashmir witnessed 10 gunfights between militants and security forces in 2019. The operations have led to the killing of 25 militants, while a policeman too was killed in a militant attack.
The encounter continued for about eight hours. Five militants were killed and five AK-47 rifles recovered... HARMEET SINGH MEHTA,
Army personnel outside the house in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district where the militants were hiding. The house was cordoned off by security forces before the gun battle.