2 Hizb militants killed in Bijbehara gunfight

Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in an overnight gunfight with the security forces in Bijbehera town of Anantnag district on Thursday.

A source said the operation was launched by Army, Police and paramilitary CRPF men at around 12am, following inputs about the presence of militants in the area.

“At around 2am, militants hiding in a house near Trauma Hospital Bijbehara fired at security forces. The exchange of fire continued till 6:30 am after which the guns fell silent. The security forces blew up the house where the militants were holed up,” the source added.

The bodies of the deceased militants, an AK-47 rifle and an SLR were recovered from the spot, a Police spokesman said.

The deceased militants were identified as Safdar Amin, 25, of Zirpara locality of Bijbehara town and Burhan Ahmad Ganai alias Saifullah, 24, of SK Colony locality of Anantnag town.

While Safdar was a school dropout, Burhan had done Bachelor of Physiotherapy from Srinagar and was planning to pursue post-graduation before he picked up arms.

Safdar, the Police said, had joined militancy in May 2017, and Burhan in June last year. “They were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities. Several cases were registered against them,” the Police spokesperson added.

He also urged people not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosives.

SHUTDOWN, RESTRICTIONS, PROTESTS

The killings triggered a spontaneous shutdown and protests in the native towns of the deceased– Bijbehara and Anantnag. The authorities had imposed restrictions in both the towns.

Barricades and spools of concertina wires were put at various crossings to stop people from participating in the funeral prayers of the deceased militants. However, a large number of people gathered at the SK Colony to attend the last rites of Burhan. 

The funeral of Safdar was held in a school ground. Protests and clashes also erupted in the town. A shutdown was also observed in the adjoining areas of both towns.