The family and neighbours of one of the three persons killedin Shopian and claimed to be militants by police on Thursday contested theclaim, asserting that their kin was not a militant but a civilian.
Also, one soldier injured in the gunfight in southerndistrict succumbed to injuries, taking the death toll in the gunfight to four.
A police spokesman in a statement had said that based on "acredible input", a cordon and search operation was launched by police andgovernment forces at Handew area in District Shopian.
"During the search operation, the hiding (militants) firedon the search party. In the initial exchange of fire, one army soldieridentified as Sepoy Rohit also sustained injuries. He has been hospitalized andis undergoing treatment. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter," thespokesman said.
In the ensuing encounter, the spokesman said, "three(militants) were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site ofencounter."
The identities and affiliations of the slain are beingascertained, the spokesman had said.
Sources said that Sepoy Rohit Kumar Yadav succumbed toinjuries at Badamibagh Army hospital where he was admitted after beingairlifted from the Shiopian.
A police officer identified the slain as Shakeel Ahmad Daralias Abu Wasif son of Abdul Gani Dar of Tukroo, Shopian, Shakir Ahmad Paulalias Owais Amin Baie son of Abdul Ganie Paul of Molu Dangerpora and YawarMushtaq alias Khalid Bhai son of Mushtaq Ahmad Dar of Bandpoh ThokerporaShopian.
The slain trio was affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen outfit,the officer had said.
However, when the respective families went to PCR to collectthe bodies, it surfaced that one among them was not Shakir Ahmad Paul butIshtiyaq Ahmad Bhat son of Dawood Ahmad Bhat of Hendew Imamsahab Shopian. Thefamily and relatives of Ishtiyaq Ahmad said that he was an innocent person.
A police officer said that the encounter took place in anopen space and questioned as to what Ishtiyaq was doing there. "There wasalready a case (FIR 252/2018) under 13, 39 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Actand 506 RPC and 7/27 Arms Act registered against him," the police officer said,adding, "Further investigations are underway."
Meanwhile, authorities have decided to suspend train service from Banihal to Baramulla on Friday. (GNS).