Five militants killed in Kashmir gunfight
: Five militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district in the deadliest incident of violence in the Valley this year, the police said on Sunday.
A joint party of the army, police, and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) launched a cordon and search operation in early on Sunday after information about the presence of militants in Kellam area of the district.
A police statement said the forces retaliated to firing by militants at the search party. “In the ensuing encounter, five terrorists were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of the encounter. Their identities and affiliations are being ascertained,” an official said.
The operation ended in the afternoon.
A police spokesman said that all the militants were locals andpart of a combined group of proscribed terror outfits Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-eTaiba and identified them as Waseem Ahmad Rather, Aqib Nazir Mir, Parvaiz Ahmad Bhat, Idrees Ahmad Bhat and Zahid Ahmad Parray.
Army spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia said the forces recovered weapons and warlike stores from the encounter site.
Clashes broke out near the encounter site between forces and local people, who allegedly pelted stones. 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 wanted people not to venture near the encounter zone and requested them to cooperate with police until the area was completely sanitised .
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...”