One terrorist was killed and three stone-pelters died in security forces’ action at an encounter site in Chadoora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district. In the operation, 23 Jawans were injured, while one Rashtriya Rifles Soldier received bullet injuries. Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Durbugh area of Chadoora in the wee hours following information about the presence of militants in the area, a police official said. He said the search operation turned into a gunbattle after militants opened fire on security forces. As the security forces were engaged in the exchange of firing with holed-up militants, a large number of protesters started pelting stones at the law enforcing agencies, the official said. A number of people suffered injuries as security forces fired pellet guns and teargas shells in a bid to disperse them, the official said. The gunbattle between security forces and militants went on through the day, the official revealed.
Two days ago, two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed when they tried to ambush a police party that included three officers of the rank of superintendent of police in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The incident took place at Padgampura, an area located on the border of Awantipura and Pulwama districts in south Kashmir, 35 kms from here, when militants came from behind and started firing indiscriminately at the convoy of the officers, the police said. The last vehicle was that of 32-year-old Chandan Kholi, posted as additional superintendent of police in militancy-hit Pulwama district, which bore the brunt of the attack.
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Kholi, along with his guards, who were swiftly supported by senior superintendents of police of Awantipora and Pulwama Zahid Malik and Rayees Mohammed Bhat respectively, neutralised the two militants, they said. The driver of the car, in which the two militants were travelling, escaped after the encounter broke out, the police said, adding a hunt has been launched to nab him to ascertain whether he was kidnapped or was part of an overground network of the militant group.
The top police officers of the district were returning after a meeting with the chief election officer in connection with the forthcoming by-polls to two Lok Sabha seats of Anantnag and Srinagar. The police have seized two weapons, including a looted self-loading rifle (SLR), besides a hand grenade and some ammunition, Deputy Inspector General of Police (South Kashmir) S Pani told PTI.
The Padgampora area has witnessed several encounters in the past and is believed to be infested by militants associated with banned outfits such as the Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pani, a seasoned police officer who has done credible work in controlling militancy in Shopian and Kulgam districts, lauded the role of the police personnel who quickly neutralised the two terrorists.
One of the slain militants has been identified as Shahbaz Safi Wani alias Rayees Kachru, who was active in the area since June, 2016. Wani was involved in an attack on a security picket outside a minority camp at Tumlahall in Pulwama district, besides snatching two SLRs along with magazines, officials said.
The other one is a “recycled” militant, Farooq Ahmed Hurrah from Shopian, who had surrendered in 2010 and was out on parole. On March 9, two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were killed in an encounter at Padgampora. A civilian was also killed in the incident.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Range, S J M Gillani said, “According to our officers at the spot, perhaps one militant managed to escape.
(With agency inputs)