2 militants killed in Srinagar encounter

Two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in the old Barzulla area of Srinagar on Monday morning. This was the eighth such encounter in Srinagar city this year. The area witnessed clashes between youths and security forces.

Police identified the killed militants as Saifullah of Pakistan and Irshad Ahmad Dar of Pulwama district of southern Kashmir. Police said both were affiliated with LeT.

Police said that Saifullah was involved in Nowgam, Kandizaal and Chadoora attacks in which security forces suffered casualties.

The encounter broke out after the Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force cordoned the old Barzulla area of Srinagar on inputs about the presence of militants during the night.

The gun-battle started at around 6 am and ended at 11.30. “The two hiding militants were asked to lay arms but they refused,” police said adding that instead they opened fire on the search party. “In the retaliatory fire both the militants were killed,” police said.

During the gun-battle the residential house where the militants had taken shelter was damaged while some other houses were partially damaged.

“A top Lashkar commander from Pakistan named Saifullah has been killed in the operation. He was involved in three back-to-back major attacks on security forces in Nowgam, Chadoora and Kandizaal here,” Director General of Police Dilbag Singh told reporters.

The DGP said that this year so far Srinagar city has witnessed eight encounters in which 18 militants have been killed.

Soon after the encounter, clashes erupted between youths and security forces in the area and police used tear smoke shells to disperse the protestors. The protestors in groups pelted stones on security forces on Barzulla Bridge, flyover and interior areas.

The pitched battles continued till late afternoon.

The police closed all entrance points of the area to stop any stone pelting at the encounter spot.

The clashes disrupted traffic movement from Lal Chowk to Hyderpora, Airport and other areas. The travellers preferred the Batamaloo route to reach their destinations because of pitched battles on the main road.

Police took bodies of the militants to Gantmulla Uri, Baramulla, in north Kashmir for burial. However they allowed some family members of the Pulwama militant to be present at the time of burial. Lately, police have been denying the bodies of the militants to their families as their funerals attracted large crowds.