3 militants killed in Panzgam encounter

Three militants were killed in an encounter with forces in Panzgam village in this south Kashmir area during intervening night of Friday-Saturday.
3 militants killed in Panzgam encounter
Photo: Mir Wasim/GK

Three militants were killed in an encounter with forces in Panzgam village in this south Kashmir area during intervening night of Friday-Saturday.

Police said that operation was carried out after receiving a tipoff about the presence of the militants in a house at Panzgam.

 A police official while talking to Greater Kashmir said:  "We sealed all the entry and exit points leading to the house and erected barbed wire around the specific location. Multi-layered cordon was laid on all possible routes to thwart any escape." 

"It started at around 12:30 PM. As militants got whiff of our presence at around 2:50 PM, they tried to break the cordon. However, they were shot dead in the process," the official added.

"After being challenged by the forces, they (militants) moved back into the house and resorted to indiscriminate firing which was retaliated triggering a gunfight in which  three militants were killed."

SP Awantipora, Shridhar Patel said that it was a joint operation by Awantipura police, 55 RR and 130 Bn CRPF.

Locals of the village Panzgam said they heard a bang during the night which broke windowpanes of many houses. "Later in the morning we saw the house where the militants were hiding razed to the ground."

A police press handout identified the militants as Ishfaq Hamid Dar s/o Abdul Hamid Dar of Dogripora, Haseeb Ahmad Pal s/o Ghulam Muhammad Pal  of Braw Bandina Awantipora and Ishfaq Baba son of  Ghulam Qadir Baba of  Tahab.

The statement claimed that Ishfaq Dar of Braw Bandina was involved in various militancy related cases.

Meanwhile Army's Srinagar based spokesman said that a large quantity of arms, ammunition and other war like stores, including three AK 47 Rifles, six magazine and 85 rounds of AK 47 Rifles, were recovered  from the encounter site.

Reports said that the funeral prayers of three Hizb militants were held in their native villages in which thousands of people participated during which pro-freedom slogans were raised. The militants according to locals were later buried in martyr's graveyard of their villages.

"First the funeral prayer of Ishfaq Dar was offered, and then it was followed by Haseb of Badina and Ishfaq Baba of Tahab," locals said.

Meanwhile, 19 year old Vakeel Ahmed was injured in a grenade explosion at the encounter site after the gunfight was over.

Vakeel Ahmed is one of the sons of Shergujri family where the encounter took place. "He was trying to clear the debris and build a makeshift tin shed after they lost their house in the night long encounter. Soon a grenade exploded and splinters hit him at neck," locals said.

Vakeel was shifted to SKIMS for treatment where doctors said he is out of danger.

He said some people had assembled at the encounter site when a grenade lying there suddenly went off.

SP Awantipura Shridhar Patel said he had asked people to stay away from encounter site unless it is cleared. 

Following the killings of three Hizb militants, clashes erupted between youth and forces in different areas of Pulwama.

Mobile phone/train service suspended

Meanwhile, mobile as well as internet services were suspended in the district for five hours which caused lot of inconvenience to the public.

Authorities had also suspended train services between Banihal and Srinagar to prevent protests against killing of three Hizb militants. The railway line passes along the villages of slain militants.

As the word about the killing spread in the area, hundreds of people men and women marched towards the villages of slain militants and joined the funeral procession of militants.

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