7 militants killed in Shopian, Tral

10 civilians injured in clashes with security forces
7 militants killed in Shopian, Tral
Pic: Mir Wasim/GK

The firing continued intermittently between security forces and militants throughout Thursday night in south Kashmir's Shopian town. At around half past 12 pm on Friday, a sudden hush descended the locality and forces declared two more militants dead. Earlier, three militants were killed while three soldiers sustained injuries in the gunfight which began on Thursday afternoon.

At least 10 youths suffered injuries in clashes with security forces that broke out around the encounter spot.

A police spokesperson identified four of the slain militants as Basik Ismail Bakshi, Muzamil Manzoor Tantray, Adil Ahmad Lone, all residents of Shopian district; and Younis Ahmad Khanday, a resident of Tral. The identity of the fifth militant, according to the spokesperson, was yet to be ascertained.

Since March 13, this is the fifth gun battle in the district killing a total of 13 militants.

On Thursday afternoon, a cordon and search operation by security forces comprising columns of army, CRPF and police turned into a gun battle after the militants opened fire on the forces in Jan Mohalla, barely a few hundred meters  from Gole Chakri, the commercial nerve centre of the district.

"The forces initially shot dead three militants", said another police official, adding that three soldiers also suffered injuries.

According to the official, the encounter was protracted as the militants had taken refuge in a mosque.

"The militants turned down the repeated surrender offers by the forces and continued to fight," said the official.

He said that the gun fight ended after more than 20 hours with the killing of all the five militants.

The official said that while the encounter was underway, many local youths came out of their homes and hurled stones on the security forces at multiple places in the town.

"Some of the youths even tried to draw close to the encounter spot in an attempt to disrupt the operation", said the police official.

The forces, according to the official, fired pellets and tear smoke shells on the youths.

A health official said that at least 10 persons with pellet injuries were received at District Hospital Shopian since Thursday evening.

"Of them, three persons were shifted to SMHS Hospital Srinagar, given the grave nature of their injuries", said the official.

Local residents told the Greater Kashmir that significant damage was caused to the walls and windows of the mosque.

"The windows are completely damaged while the walls in and outside the mosque have bullet marks," said the locals.

Soon after the gunfight, people from across the district visited the encounter site and held protests.

2 militants killed in Tral encounter:

Ansar Ghazwatul Hind chief was among two militants killed on Friday in Nowbugh area of Tral in south Kashmir's Awantipora police district.

He was identified as Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah of Rathsuna, Tral.

Shah had taken over from Hameed Lelhari who was killed in an encounter in Awantipora in October 2019.

His associate Zahid Ahmad Koka of Malhora, Shopian, was also killed in the gunfight.

A police official said that early morning columns of police, army and CRPF launched searches in the paddy fields of Nowbugh.

"As the forces approached towards the hideout the militants had taken shelter in, they were fired upon. The fire was retaliated triggering an encounter," he said.

A police official said the exchange of fire continued for several hours after which the guns fell silent.

"The militants were killed inside the hideout dug up in the paddy field," he said.

"One AK rifle and a pistol was recovered from the hideout," an official said.

He said the bodies of militants were buried by police in north Kashmir, with only close family members allowed to participate in their last rites.

Internet service in the district was shut.

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