2 militants killed in Shopian gunfight

2 militants killed in Shopian gunfight

Two militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces here in south Kashmir on Saturday morning. This was the first encounter in Shopian town, one of the Valley's nerve centres for apple trade, in the past 11 years.

A police official said that a joint team of Army, SOG andCRPF personnel ring fenced Bonabazar area of Shopian town after they receivedinputs about presence of militants.

The forces, according to the official, immediately started adoor-to-door search operation, which continued throughout the night.

On early Saturday morning, at around quarter past eight,militants hiding in KhandayMohalla, a tiny and dense locality deep inBonabazar, opened fire on the forces, the official said. The forces retaliatedat full throttle, triggering an encounter, he said.

The gunfight ended barely after half an hour with thekilling of both the militants.

The official identified one of the slain militants as MirZeenatUl Islam, son of Muhammad Ishaq Mir of Tukawangam, Shopian. The othermilitant, the official said, was a Pakistani national code named Munna. Zeenat,according to the official, had joined militancy on March 23 this year.

Last time the town witnessed an encounter in January 2008when two local militants were killed in Aliyalpora area of the borough.

Two civilians also suffered pellet injuries during theclashes that broke out alongside the gun battle site.

In a statement a police spokesperson said Zeenat wasassociated with HizbulMujahideen while Munna was active with Jaish-e-Muhammadmilitant outfit.

The spokesperson said the duo was wanted by law for theircomplicity in several militancy related incidents including attacks on securityestablishment and "civilian atrocities".

Munna was involved in a case pertaining to an IED blast inArihal area of Pulwama in which two security personnel were killed, said thepolice spokesperson.

Another police official said when the operation was inprogress bands of youth poured into the streets and threw rocks on the forcesin a bid to disrupt the operation. He said the forces responded by firingpellets and tear smoke shells to scare the stone-throwing-men away.

"This (action by the forces) might have resulted insuperficial injuries to few of them," the official said.

Medical Superintendent District Hospital Shopian confirmedthat the two youth with pellet injuries were received at the facility. "Afterthe proper treatment, both of them were discharged from the hospital," he said.

Meanwhile, mourners converged in the native village ofZeenat to participate in his last rites. "Multiple rounds of funeral prayerswere held for the slain militants before he was buried in his ancestralgraveyard", said the eyewitnesses.

A complete shutdown was observed in the entire town withauthorities shutting all the educational institutions in the area. Theauthorities also blocked the cellular internet service in the entire district.

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