Soldier, 2 civilians killed

Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR, Aug 17: A soldier was killed in an encounter in Kupwara district of North Kashmir while a woman was shot dead by militants in Pulwama district where a man was also killed in a grenade attack lobbed by militants at the office of Superintendent of Police Awantipora. Click here to watch video
A soldier was killed in an encounter at Kralgund area of Handwara in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district this morning. Army’s 32 RR launched a cordon-and-search-operation at Kachlu village early today. The militants hiding in the village opened fire on the troops during the search operation triggering an encounter.
A soldier was critically wounded and was shifted to nearby military hospital for treatment. He, however, succumbed to injuries. He has been identified as Rifleman Rambabu Shahi.
Massive searches have been launched against the militants who fled from the village under the cover of darkness and heavy firing into nearby forest area. Sources said that security forces had information about the presence of 2-3 militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) hiding in the village.
Srinagar based Defence spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia today said that Army paid tributes to Shahi in a solemn ceremony at Badami Bagh Cantonment.  He said: “Lt Gen AK Bhatt, Chinar Corps Commander and all ranks, paid homage to the martyr on behalf of a proud nation. In a show of solidarity, representatives from other security agencies also joined in to pay their last respects to the martyr.”
“Late Rifleman Rambabu Shahi sustained bullet injury during the gun battle at Kachhlu in Baramulla district. He was provided immediate first aid and evacuated to the 92 Base Hospital, but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries. The martyr, Rifleman Rambabu Shahi, was 24 years old and had joined the Army in 2013. He belonged to Village Jagatpur of Chitwan district, Nepal and is survived by his wife and a daughter”, the spokesman said.
He added: “The mortal remains of the martyr were flown for last rites to Varanasi, where he would be laid to rest with full military honours. In this hour of grief, the Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved family of the martyr and remains committed to their dignity and well being”.
A civilian was killed in a grenade attack at the office of Superintendent of Police Awantipora in Pulwama district today.
Militants lobbed a grenade at the office of Superintendent of Police Awantipora this afternoon which missed the intended target and exploded outside it, resulting in injuries to four civilians.
One of them identified as Abdul Ahad Pinchoo, 56, son of Ali Mohammad of Jawbihara who had head injury, succumbed at SMHS hospital in Srinagar where he was taken for treatment.
The injured civilians have been identified as Manzoor Ahmad Sheikh son in law of Ali Mohammad  of village Bouh, Gulzar Ahmad Tanga son of Ghulam Rasool of village Bouh and Mohammad Suhaib son of Mohammud ul  Islam, a non-local.
A 38-year-old woman was shot dead by militants at Drabgam area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district today.
Militants opened fire upon the woman Shameema wife of Ali Mohammad Bhat near his parental home at Drabgam village this afternoon. Shameema, 38, a resident of Koil village was at parental home when the incident occurred.
Police said that the preliminary investigations suggested that militants shot at the woman, who was immediately shifted to nearby hospital. However, she succumbed on the way. “Soon after the incident, a hunt has been launched to nab the assailants. A case under relevant Sections of law has been initiated into the case,” Police said.
In the meantime, clashes broke out in Hajin village of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district today soon after security forces launched an anti-militancy operation in the area.
A joint team of army’s 13 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon at Mir Mohalla area of Hajin today morning. As the cordon-and-search operation was launched in the village following specific inputs about the presence of militants. Militants fired at the troops during the searches and additional reinforcements of the Army was rushed to the area and the entire village has been cordoned off to trace out the militants.
The locals mostly youth took to streets and pelted stones on the security forces. Police and paramilitary forces used tear smoke shells to disperse the youth. Authorities suspended internet services in parts of Bandipora including Hajin.
Sources said that the security forces had information about the presence of four militants of LeT in the village. They said that two of them were injured in the brief gun battle but they managed to escape under the cover of stone pelting
Pakistani troops this evening violated ceasefire in North Kashmir’s Tanghdar sector by targeting an Army’s forward post.
The firing from small arms started at around 9 pm and is still going on. Sources said that they targeted Rekhi post manned by 17 Bihar and 20 Jat regiment of the Army from Black Rock post. The Army retaliated and intermittent firing is going on. However, no casualty was reported.