Two militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces at Brawbandina village here in south Kashmir on Friday.
A police official identified the slain militants as Irfan Ahmad Degu alias Abu Zarar of Naina Litter Pulwama and Tasaduk Amin Shah of Pulpora Kakapora area of Pulwama. “Both were associated with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant outfit,” he added.
During the exchange of fire between militants and security forces a residential house was also destroyed, a witness said.
Providing details of the gunfight a police officer said that “on specific inputs joint forces led by Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir police, Army’s Rashtriya Rifles and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) launched a cordon and search operation in Brawbandina village this morning.”
He said, “As the search parties tightened the cordon militants present inside a residential house opened fire, which was retaliated, triggering an encounter in which both militants were killed,” he added.
“We have recovered two bodies of militants. Some weapons and other incriminating material were also recovered from the gunfight site,” the officer said.
Locals near the gunfight spot said they heard indiscriminate firing on Friday morning which continued till afternoon. “The intense firing created panic in the area with people rushing towards their homes for the safety,” they said.
Photo journalists ‘manhandled’
During the encounter two local photojournalists were allegedly manhandled by security forces near encounter site. “We were performing our professional duties when a group of security personnel stopped us, thrashed us and snatched our cameras,” alleged photojournalists, who had gone to cover the gun battle.
As the word about the gunfight spread in the area a group of youth pelted security forces with the stones. The security forces personnel resorted to tear smoke shelling to disperse the protesters.
Clashes between youth and security forces also spilled over to different areas in Awantipora.
Meanwhile, authorities snapped Internet service in three police districts of Awantipora, Pulwama and Shopian. The train service between Banihal and Srinagar also remained suspended during the day.
In a statement here a police spokesman said that both the slain militants were affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba and “were wanted by law for their complicity in militancy related crimes including attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities.”
“Irfan was part of groups involved in planning and executing series of attacks in the area and many other civilian atrocities. He was involved in case FIR No 35 of 2018 pertaining to attack on security forces in Ellahibagh Pulwama in which one soldier had died. Tasaduk was involved in Case FIR No 27/2019 of PS Pantha Chowk pertaining to killing of civilian. Several crime cases were registered against them,” the statement said.
“Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other crimes,” it said.