ACHABAL GUNFIGHT|Army Major, militant killed

An Army Major and a militant were killed and two soldiers including an officer of Major rank, sustained injuries in a gunfight in Achabal area of Anantnag district on Monday.

A police official said that Army’s 19 RR, Special Operation Group (SOG) of J&K police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel ring fenced Badoora village of Achabal, following inputs about the presence of militants in the area. “As the security forces closed in towards the house, the holed up militant opened fire triggering an encounter,” he said.

A source said the exchange of fire lasted for a few minutes before it came to a halt.

“Major Rahul Verma and one soldier were injured in the initial fire fight. The duo was taken to a military hospital for treatment where they were operated upon,” he said.

“The security forces immediately launched massive search operations but it was only around 11am that a fresh contact was established with a trapped militant,” a police official said.

“The security forces later started blowing up the house where the militant was holed up. But the militant came out of the house firing indiscriminately. Another Major rank army officer identified as Ketan Sharma received bullet injury this time around and died on the spot,” he said.

A source said the militant was killed in the open only.

“The operation was finally called off late in the evening,” a police official said.  “The deceased militant is believed to be a foreigner and is probably associated with Jaish-e-Muhammad militant outfit.”

The house which was blown up belonged to slain HizbulMujahideen divisional commander Shabir Ahmad Sheikh alias Badoori.

Shabir who remained active in militant ranks for more than 15 years was shot dead on 17 April 2005, along with his aide, GhulamMohiuddin, in an encounter with security forces at Marhama village of Sangam in Bijbehara area.

Meanwhile, clashes also erupted in Badoora and other adjoining villages during the gunfight.

The mobile internet service in the district also remained suspended.

POLICE VERSION 

In a statement a police spokesman said, “Army officer Ketan Sharma sustained gunshot injuries. He was evacuated to the hospital where he succumbed. Besides two other Army officials also sustained injuries and are undergoing treatment at the hospital.”

“We pay our rich tributes to officerKetan Sharma for the supreme sacrifice made in the line of duty,” the spokesman added.

He said that the identity of the slain militant is being ascertained. “Incriminating material including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of encounter,” the spokesman added.

“Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials if any,” he added.