3 militants killed, operation on

A jawan in action during encounter at Halmatpora, Kupwara on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Aabid Nabi
A jawan in action during encounter at Halmatpora, Kupwara on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Aabid Nabi

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Mar 20: Three militants were killed in an encounter with the security forces in North Kashmir’s Kupwara forests today while Army Commandos have been rushed to the area.
Srinagar based Defence spokesman said that Army recovered bodies of three militants after the fierce encounter at Check Fatehkhan, Halmatpora area of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district today. “The operation is in progress so far only three militant bodies have been recovered,” the spokesman said.
SSP Kupwara, Shamsher Hussain told Excelsior that there was information about presence of four militants in the area and during the searches conducted by the security forces, militants opened fire on the troops leading to a gun battle. He said that three militants have been killed and searches of the area would be conducted in the morning.
Sources said that a joint team of Army’s 41 RR and SOG Kupwara launched a cordon-and-search operation following inputs about the movement of a group of militants in the area.
They said that as the security forces cordoned off the area and a group of militants were spotted offering prayers in the forest. They were challenged by the security forces leading to a gun battle. Three militants were killed in the operation which is still going on.
Meanwhile, reinforcement of para commandos was rushed to the area and they joined the operation. Sources said that searches have also been launched in the adjacent forest areas including Gulgam and Awoora to prevent the militants from fleeing the area.
Sources said that it was a recently infiltrated group that was moving in the forest area and security forces had received information about their presence. They said that the militants belonged to Al-Badar and Lashkar-e-Toiba. However, the SSP said that it is not yet clear whether it was recently infiltrated group or it was hiding in the forests during the winter.
The Army has been put on high alert on the LoC in Kashmir after reports about presence of large numbers of militants waiting for the infiltration into Kashmir. Army said that this year there are chances of early infiltration as there was less snow in Kashmir. However, Army has intensified its vigil along the LoC and strengthened anti-infiltration grid. Last year despite tight vigil along LoC 120 militants infiltrated into Kashmir.
However, security forces last year achieved major successes and killed 208 militants including top commanders of JeM, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen. The 2017 saw worst militant violence in the last 5 years in which 327 people including 75 security personnel and 40 civilians were killed in 338 violent incidents.