Bhat, a resident of Chundina area of central Kashmir's Ganderbal district, was to join militant ranks and reportedly is among the militants who were trapped in Badigam.
Five militants including a Kashmir University teacher who went missing last week, were killed on Sunday in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district, police said. Director General of Police (DGP) S.P. Vaid said all five holed-up militants in Badigam village have been killed. “Encounter concluded at Badigam Zainpora Shopian, five bodies of terrorists recovered. Well done boys – Army/CRPF/J&K Police,” the DGP tweeted.
The slain militants have been identified as Saddam Paddar — a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Tawseef Sheikh, Molvi Bilal, Adil Ahmad and Muhammad Rafi Bhat — the missing Kashmir University assistant professor, who according to police had joined militant ranks. Paddar was a close associate of Burhan Wani, who was killed in July 2016 in a gunfight in Kokernag area in Anantnag district. Bhat was trapped along with militants in the gunfight.
Bhat, an assistant professor in the sociology department of Kashmir University, was reported missing on Friday. He belonged to Chunduna village in Ganderbal district. Earlier, the police took his mother, wife and brother to Badigam village to persuade Bhat to surrender. There were angry protests in the university campus on Saturday as students asked the authorities to locate Bhat.
Para commandos of the army were also deployed to help fight the holed up militants during Sunday’s gunfight. The security forces including Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operations Group (SOG) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had surrounded Badigam following a tip-off about the presence of militants. An army soldier and a policeman were also injured in the gunfight.
Besides, 12 civilians sustained injuries in the clashes between protesters and security forces near the gunfight site.
One civilian with critical injuries has been shifted to Srinagar for treatment. Authorities have suspended mobile internet services across south Kashmir.