Three militants gunned down, protests erupt, train service suspended

SRINAGAR: Security forces gunned down three suspected militants of Hizbul Mujahideen in an encounter today in Pulwama district of Kashmir, after which some locals resorted to violent protests leading to suspension of train service between Srinagar and Banihal for the day.

The encounter in Panzgam village erupted after a joint team of police and army cordoned off the area to look for militants after receiving specific intelligence, an army official said.

As the forces were conducting a search operation, the hiding militants fired upon them, the official said.

In the ensuing gunfight, three militants –- all locals who belonged to Hizbul Mujhahdeen militant group — were killed, he said.

They were identified as Ashfaq Ahmad Dar, a resident of Dogipura, Ishfaq Ahmad Baba, a resident of Tahab and Haseeb Ahmad, a resident of Brao Bandyun, the official said.

Three weapons have also been recovered from the encounter site, he added.

After the gunfight, a grenade lying there exploded, injuring a civilian who was among those who had assembled at the encounter site, a police official said.

The civilian, Wakeel Ahmed Shergujri, was taken to SKIMS Hospital in Srinagar where his condition is said to be stable.

When the news of the death of the three militants spread, some locals staged protests and pelted stones on security forces who fired teargas in retaliation, the official said. (AGENCIES)