Srinagar, Dec 30: Three local militants were killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Srinagar outskirts on Wednesday.
Officials said that the encounter ensued on Tuesday evening during a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in Lawaypora area.
The operation is over and traffic has been resumed on the highway. Traffic from Baramulla, Sopore, Gulmarg and other areas towards Srinagar was diverted via central Kashmir district of Badgam due to encounter.
Security forces burst teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse demonstrators who were pelting stones in the area. Meanwhile, families of three militants killed by security forces in the encounter alleged that they were innocents.
A CASO was launched by the troops of Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF following a tip off about the presence of militants at Umarabad Lawaypora in the city outskirts on Srinagar-Baramulla highway last evening.
However, when the security forces were moving towards the target area, militants hiding in a particular house resorted to indiscriminate firing with automatic weapons. Security forces also retaliated ensuing in an encounter, officials said.
They said due to darkness and severe cold operation was halted though intermittent loud explosion and firing continued throughout the night. Security forces installed lights around particular house to keep a strict vigil and foil any attempt by militants to escape.
Additional security forces and police personnel were deployed in the nearby areas to prevent any law and order problem. There were also some stone pelting incidents in the area.
With the first light this morning, security forces launched an all out offensive against the hold up militants, they said adding heavy exchange of fire besides loud explosions continued for some time at 0700 hrs.
Security forces fired mortars from a distance towards the house where militants were hiding. However, when the firing from militants stopped, security force used machines to enter the house, they said adding there was brief encounter again before guns fell silent.
Three militants were killed in the encounter, a police spokesman confirmed. However, he said their identity is being ascertained. The bodies of the slain militants will be taken to Baramulla for burial in view of the COVID-19.
A senior Army officer said the bodies have been recovered. Police is ascertaining their identity, he said adding the militant were planning big strike on the highway.
He said the operation was over after the militants were killed and their bodies were recovered. He said for security reasons traffic between Shalteng to Zainakote crossing was suspended. However, traffic from both sides has been resumed, he said.
Residents of the area told UNI over phone that large number of local people could not come to their homes after they were not allowed by security forces due to security reasons.
There were dozens of loud explosion besides heavy firing in the area, he said adding residents remained confined in their homes. He said the busy highway was closed for traffic movement since last evening.
This was the tenth encounter between militants and security forces in Srinagar during 2020.