Militant killed in Shopian gunfight

2 civilians, policeman injured in clashes
Militant killed in Shopian gunfight
Pic: Mir Wasim/GK

A Lashkher-e-Toiba militant was killed in a fire fight with the security forces in Rawalpora village of south Kashmir's Shopian district on Sunday morning even as at least three persons including a policeman were injured in clashes that erupted thereafter.

The slain militant was identified as Jahangir Ahamd Wani son of Abdul Rehman Wani of Rakh Narpora Shopian.

The gun battle which began late on Saturday evening went on throughout the night while a search operation continued for around 44 hours.

A police official said that on Saturday night a joint team of army's 34 RR, CRPF and police ring-fenced Rawalpora village, some 5 kms from Shopian town and started door-to-door searches.

The official said that as the forces approached a suspected house, the militants hiding there, sprayed bullets on them.  "The forces returned the fire immediately, triggering off an encounter," the official said.

He said that after the initial exchange of fire, an eerie silence reigned over the village for a few hours.  At around quarter past 12 am (midnight), the bullets, according to the official, again pierced the air followed by a long hush.

"In the small hours, the forces and militants exchanged another spell of bullets resulting in the killing of a militant", added the official.

He said that since then although no bullets had been fired from the either side, the searches in and around the gun battle site were underway.

According to an army tweet, "01 M4 carbine, 03 magazines, 36 armour piercing rounds and a cash of Rs 9600 were recovered from the site of encounter".

A police spokesperson in a statement said that three house caught fire during the gun battle. According to the statement, the operation was paused during the night hours due to the darkness.  "As the presence of militants got ascertained, they were given opportunity to surrender. However, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated," the statement said.

Another police official told Greater Kashmir that when the operation was going on some young men drew close to the gun battle site and threw rocks on the forces in an attempt to stymie the operation.  "The forces responded by firing pellets and tear shells which left some of the stone pelting youth injured,"  the official said.

He said that a police head constable also suffered injuries in his head after being hit by a stone.

Mohammed Ismail, Medical Superintendent at District Hospital Shopian told Greater Kashmir that they received three injured persons including a policeman at the facility.

He said that one of the injured persons who had received pellet injuries in his eyes was sent to SMHS, Srinagar, given the grave nature of his injuries.  He said that the other two injured were treated at the hospital.

A health official at the facility identified the injured policeman as Head Constable Nazir Ahmad.

At the time of filing this report, searches around the gun battle site were going on.

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