Srinagar, Jan 22: Three militants including the brother of an IPS officer were killed and two army soldiers were injured, one of them critically, in a gunfight at Shirmal area of Shopian district in south Kashmir on Tuesday.
Reports said that a joint team of army’s 44 RR, Para Commandos and SOG launched a search operation in Shirmal area of Zinapora after having credible input about the presence of some militants in the area.
As the joint team of forces intensified searches towards the suspected spot–the hideout inside an orchard, the hiding militants fired upon them, triggering off an encounter. There was a lull monetarily before firefight resumed, leading to the killing of three militants.
Two army soldiers of 44 RR were also sustained injuries during the course of the gunfight, they said. The injured have been identified as Sepoy Rahul Kumar and Havaldar Ram Lal, they said.
Both the injured after being treated at army’s local health facility were later airlifted to 92 base hospital Badamibagh here, they said, adding that condition of one of them Rahul Kumar is said to be critical.
The bodies of the slain were recovered along with as many weapons and other arms and ammunition, they said.
The government forces blasted the hideout, the sources said.
Four militants were trapped and one of them reportedly managed to flee. However, there was no official confirmation in this regard so far.
Official sources said that among the slain include Shamsul Haq Mengnoo (23) son of Mohammad Rafiq Mengnoo, a resident of Sugan, Draggud village of Shopian district.
Shamsul Haq had left studies at Bachelors of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) at government college here in Zakura campus. His elder brother Inamul Haq is 2012 IPS batch officer who is posted in North East. The identity of the two other militants was being ascertained, official sources added.
A police official confirmed the killing of three militants including the Shamsul Haq Mengnoo (23) son of Mohammad Rafiq Mengnoo but refused to comment about the fleeing of the fourth militant.
The officer identified the two other slain as Amir Ahmad Bhat (21) son of Late Abdul Aziz Bhat of Chadipora, Shopian and Shuaib Ahmad Shah (19) son of Ghulam Rasool Shah of Zahapora, Shopian. He said that the slain were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit and were involved in a number of attacks in the southern district.
After conducting all necessary formalities, the bodies of the trio were later in the evening handed over to their families for last rites, he said.
However, police in a statement said the identities of the slain trio was being ascertained.
Meanwhile, seven persons were injured in clashes near the site of the encounter at Heff Shirmal as government forces resorted to tear gas shelling and pellet firing. Among injured four pellet wounded has been identified as Arshid Ahmad Dar (30) son of Bashir Ahmad Dar (Pellet injury in left eye) of Nagbal, Shopian, Abul Rashid (40) of Pulwama (Pellet injury left eye), Javid Ahmad (35) of Pulwama (Pellet injury in both eyes) and Sabzar Ahmad Kumar (20) son of Abdul Rashid of Koil Pulwama, (pellet injuries in both eyes). All the four pellet wounded were referred to SMHS Srinagar from district hospital Shopian.
Besides, the civilians, four photojournalists were injured in the incident. The authorities have also suspended internet in the southern district.
Meanwhile, police said that eleven people, including six forces’ personnel, were injured in clashes near the site of a gunfight in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday.
“Pertinent to mention that it was a difficult operation due to the terrain and there were clashes in the area which was handled by the security forces,” a police spokesman said, in a statement.
He said: “only five cases of injuries were reported and three of them were discharged after preliminary medical attention.”
“Separately, six security forces’ personnel injured during the clashes have been discharged after medical attention,” said the spokesman. “Although this was a day-long operation, the effort of SFs and cooperation of citizen did not result in any significant injuries or collateral damage.” (GNS)