Srinagar, June 22: Four militants, a civilian and a cop were killed in a fierce gun battle in Srigufwara area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district today. And over two dozen persons were injured in the clashes that broke out during the operation.
A joint team of Army, Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) cordoned off Nowshera, Khiram in Srigufwara area of South Kashmir early today.
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Militants opened fire on the troops during the operation leading to an encounter which continued for several hours. Sources said that in the initial firing, the house owner, Mohammad Yousuf Rather, 50, and his wife Hafeeza suffered bullet injuries.
They were taken to nearby hospital where Rather succumbed to injuries and Hafeeza is being treated in the hospital.
Two Army men and a Special Police Officer (SPO) working with the SOG Ashiq Hussain were critically injured in the initial firing by militants. All the injured were evacuated to a military hospital where SPO Ashiq Hussain succumbed to injuries.
The firing lasted for several hours and the security forces blasted off the residential house killing all the four militants.
As soon as the encounter broke out hundreds of people particularly youth marched towards the encounter site, triggering massive clashes as they pelted rocks on the security forces.
Police and paramilitary forces fired tear smoke shells, pellets and bullets to quell the protests. At least three dozen persons were injured. One of the injured, Ubaid Ahmad, who has bullet injury in his neck is in critical condition.
Some of the injured have been identified as Shahid Nazir Hajam son of Nazir Ahmad Hajam, Burhan Shafi son of Mohamma Shafi Bhat, Rafiqa Akther, 40, wife of Ghulam Mohd Rather of Nowshera; Nissar Ahmad Itoo, 27, of Hatigam; Gowhar Ahmad, 25, of Waghama; Zahid Ahmad, 24, of Waghama; Tahir Ahmad Najar, 26, of Waghama; Suhail Farooq, 21, of Nowshera and Aadil Ahmad Sheikh,22, of Magraypora. All the injured were referred to different hospitals of Srinagar for specialized treatment.
Clashes erupted in HMT Zainakote in Srinagar and Pulwama. Police used force to quell the protesters.
Authorities suspended the Internet service in Pulwama, Anantnag and Srinagar after the killings. One of the militants, Dawood Ahmad hailed from HMT, Srinagar.
A police spokesman in a statement issued here said that as the joint patrol made an advance towards the suspected house, militants hiding inside fired indiscriminately on the security forces due to which a policeman Ashiq Hussain and a civilian identified as Mohammad Yousuf Rather of Gull Mohammad Rather resident of Nowshahar Khiram, got injured and succumbed to their injuries. “Consequently some more civilians also got injured and were shifted to hospital,” the spokesman.
“In the encounter, all the four militants were killed who have been identified as Dawood Ahmad Sofi, Majid Manzoor Dar, Aadil Rehman Bhat and Mohammad Ashraf Itoo,” the spokesman said.
Police said Dawood Ahmad Sofi, 33, son of Mohammad Subhan Sofi, of Zainakoot HMT Srinagar, was involved in a number of stone pelting cases in the area prior to joining the militant outfit. “He was involved in a militant attack which resulted in the death of ASI Ghulam Mohammad and HC Naseer Ahmad at Bagh-Ali-Mardan Khan in Zadibal and also in the killing of the policeman and snatching his rifle at Tengpora Batamaloo besides other militant attacks”, the spokesman said.
“Majid Manzoor Dar of Talangam, Pulwama also joined the militant outfit and remained active along with Aadil Rehman Bhat of Shettipora, Bijbehara and Mohammad Ashraf Itoo of Hatigam Srigufwara, Anantnag”, the spokesman added.
“Initially, Dawood was known to be affiliated with TuM outfit. The outfit was active on social media and mostly attacked the policemen on duty at different places. The social media profiling and inputs indicate that they were inspired by ISIS module”, the spokesman said.
“Incriminating material and a huge quantity of ammunition were also seized from the site of the encounter”, the spokesman said.
“Police have registered a case in this regard and have initiated an investigation in the instant matter”, the spokesman added.
In the meantime, eight security forces personnel were injured in a grenade attack at Tral in Pulwama today.
Militants hurled the grenade on the joint team of police and CRPF near police station in Tral town. Four policemen and four CRPF personnel were injured and have been hospitalized. Security forces who were deployed for law and order, opened fired in retaliation. The area was cordoned off and a haunt was launched to nab the attackers.
Militants also attacked a patrol party of Army’s 55 RR at Machpuna crossing near circular road area of Pulwama district. The security forces retaliated. However, no loss of life or injury was reported in this incident. The area was cordoned off and searches were launched against the militants.
And a policeman injured in a militant attack in Kak Sarai area of Srinagar last week succumbed to injuries at SKIMS Soura today.
Head constable Habibullah who was critically injured in a militant attack near Dental College in Karan Nagar a few days back succumbed to his injuries at SKIMS this morning. Two cops and equal number of civilians were injured in the attack.
Police said Habibullah was the lone bread earner of his family, and is survived by three daughters, Riffat Ara, 21, whose marriage was scheduled next week, Insha, a student of 10th class, Rubeena, a student of 6th class, two sons Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din , 22, and Kaiser Ahmad Lone, 26, besides wife and aged parents.
A police spokesman said here: “Terrorists this afternoon fired upon the security forces when they were handling law and order on Tral road. Terrorists lobbed a grenade followed by firing on the security forces from a crowd when they were busy with law & order duties on Tral road resulting in injuries to the nine security forces personnel.
“Security force personnel exercised maximum restraint after being attacked by terrorists to prevent any civilian casualties. The injured security force personnel were evacuated to the hospital for medical treatment.”