Srinagar: Four militants, including three from Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), were killed in two separate gunfights with government forces in South Kashmir’s Pulwama and Kulgam districts as some parts of the valley observed a shutdown to mark the fifth death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on Thursday.
Based on specific input about the presence of militants in the Puchal area of Pulwama, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by police, CRPF and the Army on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, a police spokesperson said.
“During the search operation as the presence of militants was ascertained they were given repeated opportunities to surrender, however, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which retaliated leading to an encounter,” he said.
In the ensuing gunfight, two militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of the encounter, the spokesperson said. They have been identified as Kifayat Ramzan Sofi, affiliated with the LeT, and Inayat Ahmad Dar, affiliated with Al-Badr outfit.
In Kulgam district, on credible inputs regarding the movement of militants on Jammu-Srinagar Highway, a joint check point was set up at Zadora-Qazigund. “During naka checking, when a suspicious vehicle was signalled to stop by the naka party, two militants who were boarding the vehicle came out from the vehicle and started firing indiscriminately upon the joint naka party. However, the alert party retaliated the fire effectively, leading to the elimination of two militants on the spot,” the spokesperson said. The slain militants were identified as Nasir Ahmad Pandith and Shahbaz Ahmad Shah, both affiliated with the LeT.
“During the last 12 hours, two gunfights took place in South Kashmir’s Pulwama and Kulgam districts in which four militants were killed,” the spokesman said. “As per police records, all the slain militants were part of groups involved in various militancy related crimes regarding which several militancy related crime cases stand registered against them. Arms, ammunition and other incriminating materials were recovered from both the encounter sites,” he said. In this connection, police have registered cases under relevant sections of the law and investigations have been initiated.
Meanwhile shutdown was observed in many parts of Kashmir valley, including the commercial hub of Lal Chowk in the city, but officials attributed the shutdown to Covid SOPs.