A local Jaish-e-Muhammad militant was killed in a brief gunfight with security forces in Verinag area of Anantnag district, while two "foreign militants" are believed to have escaped.
The deceased militant identified as Iqbal Ahmad, 36, a residentof Nowpora, Dooru, was associated with Harkat-ul-Mujahideen militant outfit inthe early 2000s but had been arrested later. He, however, joined the Jaish in April last year.
A police official said early in the morning Army's 19RR andSOG of Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a cordon and search operation inNowgam forests of Verinag following inputs about the presence of the militantsthere.
"A group of militants after being spotted were challengedbut they opened fire which was retaliated. A militant was killed in the briefexchange of fire," he said.
Two other militants, believed to be Pakistani nationals,according to an official, managed to escape deep into the woods.
"A massive search operation was launched to nab them. Thechoppers were also pressed into service. However the militants remaineduntraced," a police official said.
The operation which lasted till 2pm was finally called off.
CLASHES SHUTDOWN IN DOORU, VERINAG
As the word about Iqbal's killing spread in Dooru, peoplecame out and clashed with security forces.
Protests and clashes continued throughout the day in Dooru,Nowpora, Kreeri, Larkipora, and Verinag.
The forces fired tear shells, chilli grenades and shotgunpellets into protesters, injuring a few of them.
Meanwhile, mobile Internet was suspended in Anantnagdistrict following the gunfight. The body of Iqbal was taken to police postVerinag and later handed over to the family for last rites. People in largenumbers turned up at his funeral in Nowpora village.