3 militants killed in Shopian encounter

The encounter in Hef Turi village of Zainapora in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Wednesday ended with the killing of three militants.

The slain militants were identified as Sajad Malla of Maldera, Shopian; Junaid Rashid of Tumlahal, Pulwama; and Waseem Ahmad Magray of Chakoora Pulwama.

The encounter started Tuesday evening after a joint contingent of police, army and CRPF ring-fenced the village and launched searches.

“The guns blazed heavily on both sides till late evening,” a police official said.

He said the operation was suspended due to darkness but the cordon was tightened to prevent the holed up militants from escaping,

A police official said militants made several attempts to escape but were pushed back by the security forces.

“The operation resumed early morning. Two militants were gunned down after which the guns fell silent,” he said.

A police official however said the third militant who was also hiding in the house opened fire intermittently.

“He was finally gunned down and searches were launched,” he said.

The bodies of three militants along with arms and ammunition were recovered, he said.

Earlier, a police official said the militants were given an opportunity to surrender but they refused.

The bodies of the militants were taken by police to PCR Srinagar and later to Handwara in north Kashmir for burial.

For several months now, police have been denying the bodies of the militants to their families as their funerals attracted large crowds.

Clashes near encounter site:

As the gunfight was on, youths came out and pelted stones on the security forces to disrupt the operation.

The forces fired tear shells and metallic pellets on the protesters.

Two youths sustained pellet injuries and were taken to Pulwama hospital. They were later referred to SMHS Srinagar for specialized treatment.

The mobile internet service in the district was shut to thwart more protests.

In a statement, police said the killed militants were part of groups involved in planning & executing several attacks on security establishments.