3 militants killed in Shopian encounter

Repeated pleas by the family and the security forces failed to prod Faesal Gulzar Ganie, 16, into laying down his arms, who was finally killed along with another militant in the small hours on Sunday in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Earlier, one of their associates was killed on Saturday evening soon after the trio engaged the forces in a gunfight.

Faesal, according to a police official, continued to hang tough despite unflagging efforts by his family to convince him to surrender throughout Saturday night.

The police official said that a cordon and search operation in the orchards of  Chitragam village, 15 kms from Shopian town, turned into firefight after the militants hiding in a shed opened fire on the security forces at around half past 5 pm on Saturday.

He said that in the retaliatory action one of the militants was killed immediately while two army men suffered injuries.  According to the official, the operation was paused at least for 9 hours “to give a chance to other two militants to surrender”.

“We brought the family of Faesal near the encounter site to encourage him to surrender, but to no avail,” the official said.

He said that on a loudhailer, his family repeatedly requested him to lay down the arms, but he did not change his mind.

The official said that the militants fired on the forces again on Sunday morning and were finally killed at around 5.30 am.  He said that Faesal was born on March 4, 2005.

Faesal, a resident of Chitragam Shopian  had joined militancy two days ago.

While one of his associates was identified as Asif Bashir, 17, also a resident of Chitgram Shopian, the identity of the third militant is yet to be ascertained.

Meanwhile, the fifth militant killed on Friday afternoon in Jan Mohalla locality of Shopian town was identified as Kashif Bashir Mir, resident of Dadsar, Tral.