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HM comdr, 2 others escape

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Feb 22: At least three militants including district commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, fled from the cordon after stone pelting by locals on security forces during the operation in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district today.
Massive stone-pelting clashes erupted in two villages of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district today as security forces launched search and cordon operations against a group of militants including Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Altaf Ahmad Kachru.
Sources said that Army’s 1-RR, Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police and CRPF cordoned off Tarigam village of Kulgam district in the morning after receiving an input about the presence of three militants.
Sources said that security forces had information that a militant who was injured in a gun battle in Frisal in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district last week was treated in Primary Health Centre (PHC) Tarigam yesterday and he was scheduled to report at the hospital today as well.
They said that the security forces had information that the militant was accompanied by his two colleagues including Altaf Ahmad Kachru, district commander of Hizbul Mujahideen and were present inside Tarigam village.
Sources said that as the searches were started, the locals including women came out of their houses and held protests. The locals pelted stones on security forces involved in operations and tried to break the cordon to give safe passage to militants who were believed to be trapped inside.
Police fired teargas and fired gun shots in air to disperse the protesters. Clashes between the two sides continued for several hours and few persons were reported to be injured. Following the clashes, the cordon and search operation in the Tarigam village was called off by afternoon and sources said that militants managed to flee from the cordon.
Clashes also erupted at Qoimoh area of Kulgam district today after security forces launched a cordon and search operation following information that the militants who fled Tarigam have taken shelter in nearby Makhdoom Mohalla locality of Qoimoh.
Locals came out of their houses and disrupted the operation by pelting stones on security forces. Police fired teargas and in the ensuing clashes few women were injured.
Security forces called off the operation at Qoimoh following clashes. Minor stone-pelting clashes were also reported from Kakpora area of Pulwama district. However, the situation there was brought under control by police.

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