Five militants, two civilians and two soldiers were killed in separate gunfights in south Kashmir's Pulwama and Shopian districts on Thursday, police said.
A police official said that three Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants,an army soldier and a civilian were killed in a pre-dawn gunfight near Pulwamatown. Two soldiers and a civilian were also wounded during the gun battle.
The police official identified slain militants as NaseerAhmad Pandith of Karimabad, Pulwama, Umar Ahmad Mir of Barthipora, Shopian andKhalid, a JeM commander, of Pakistan. The deceased civilian was identified asRayees Ahmad Dar. He had been putting up along with his family in Pulwama forpast many years. His elder brother Muhammad Yunus, a businessman, also sufferedfire arm injuries in the gun battle.
The police official said that a joint of team of Army's 55RR, SOG and CRPF personnel ring-fenced Dalipora, located near the town's nervecentre Murran Chowk, following the information about the presence of militantsin the area. "As soldiers initiatedsearches, militants hiding there opened fire on them. The fire was retaliatedtriggering a gunfight in which three militants were killed," he said.
The official said that in the exchange of fire threesoldiers and two civilian siblings also suffered injuries. One of the soldiers,sepoy Sandeep Kumar succumbed to his injuries at Army's 92 base hospital inBadamibagh, Srinagar, while doctors pronounced a civilian "dead on arrival" atdistrict hospital Pulwama.
A health official said that the slain civilian had suffereda fatal bullet wounds in his chest and neck while a bullet had pierced the legof other one.
A local resident told Greater Kashmir that he was up forpre-dawn meals when the first bullet rang out at around 3.30 am. He said thatthe casualties probably took place in the open as he saw blood spilled over thelanes.
A police spokesman in a statement said that the killedmilitants were involved in a "series of attacks on security establishment andcivilian atrocities."
He said that "Pandith was involved in the killing of apoliceman, Muhammad Yaqoob Shah, on the eve of Eid in 2018 and was alsoinvolved in some weapon snatching incident reported from the area."
"Similarly, Khalid who was operating as commander of theproscribed JeM, was also involved in a series of attacks on securityestablishment and civilian atrocities in the area" he added.
The spokesperson added that Umar was also involved inseveral attacks and was part of the outfit responsible for attacks on securityforces.
The bodies of two local slain militants were later handedover to their families.
The gun battle unleashed a fresh bout of clashes in bothPulwama and Shopian districts. In New colony and Dalipora areas of Pulwama,youth took to streets and threw stones on the forces who responded by firingsmoke shells. As a precautionary measure, authorities imposed restrictions inand around the town and also snapped the mobile internet services.
Similarly, a group of youth pelted forces with stones atmain market in Shopian town.
Meanwhile, thousands of mourners converged at the nativevillages of slain militants and participated in their last rites.
According to local residents, multiple funeral prayers wereheld for both the militants before they were laid to rest.
Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, a soldier and a civilianwere killed in a brief encounter at a village in south Kashmir's Shopiandistrict on Thursday evening, a police official said.
He said that a joint team of Army, CRPF and SOG mensurrounded the orchards of Handew village, some 12 kms from Shopian town, andlaunched a search operation at around 4: 30 pm following the inputs about thepresence of militants in the area. "As the searches were on militants hiding ina thick apple orchard fired upon the security forces", the official said,adding that the fire was retaliated triggering an encounter in which twomilitants and a civilian were killed while a soldier identified as sepoy Rohitsustained injuries.
The official identified the slain militants as Yawar Mushtaqson of Mushtaq Ahmad Dar of Thokerpora,Shopian and Shakeel Ahmad Dar son Abdul Gani Dar of Tukroo, Shopian.
The local residents identified the killed civilian as IshtiyaqAhmad Bhat son of Muhammad Dawood of Handew Shopian.