Four soldiers, two militants, civilian killed in Pulwama gunfight; clashes erupt

Four soldiers, two militants, civilian killed in Pulwama gunfight; clashes erupt

An army spokesman in Srinagar said that two militants and four soldiers were killed in the gunfight. “The operation is in progress,” he said. The identity of the slain militants was not immediately known.

Four army men, including an officer, two militants and a civilian were killed and a soldier wounded on Monday in a gunfight in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, barely 10 km away from the Thursday’s suicide bombing spot.

An army spokesman in Srinagar said that two militants and four soldiers were killed in the gunfight. “The operation is in progress,” he said. The identity of the slain militants was not immediately known.

News agency GNS quoting a police officer identified the slain soldiers as Major DS Dondial, Head Constable Seva Ram, Sepoy Ajay Kumar and Sepoy Hari Singh. 

The critically injured army man, identified as Sepoy Gulzar Mohd, was evacuated to army’s 92 base hospital Badamibagh Srinagar for treatment, he said.

A civilian namely Mushtaq Ahmad received critical injuries and died during the firing exchange.

The gunfight started shortly after midnight after the government forces, including the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), surrounded the Pinglena village following a tip off about the presence of militants.

"As the cordon was tightened, the hiding militants fired triggering the gunfight," said an official.

The gun battle comes less than a week after 49 CRPF troopers were blown up in an instant just four days back after their convoy was targeted by a JeM suicide bomber on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Pulwama.

The suicide attack on the convoy carrying troopers towards Srinagar had blown up a bus when an explosive-packed SUV rammed into the paramilitary vehicle. It was the worst-ever attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in the state in 1989.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted in the area soon after the news of militant killings spread. Reports said youth took to streets and clashed with the forces deployed in the area.