Srinagar: Two militants affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) were killed while two Army men sustained splinter injuries in an encounter that raged between forces and militants in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
A police spokesman said that based on a specific input regarding the presence of militants in village Naina, Batpora area of Pulwama, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Police, Army (55RR) and 182Bn CRPF in the area.
“During the search operation as the presence of militants holed-up in a separate structure nearby a local masjid got ascertained, they were given ample opportunities to surrender and repeated appeals were made to them, instead, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party leading to an encounter,” the official said.
A police spokesman said that keeping in view the sanctity of masjid, the joint team exercised maximum restraint to ensure no damage to it and two army personnel sustained splinter injuries during the encounter.
“Both the injured were evacuated to hospital where their condition is stated to be stable,” he said. “In the ensuing encounter, two militants affiliated with LeT were killed and their bodies were recovered from the site of encounter.”
They have been identified as Shahid Ahmed Khan son of Mohi-ud-din Khan resident of Batpora, Pulwama and Fayaz Sheikh son of Gh Rasool Sheikh, resident of Shahpora, Ganderbal.
“As per police records both the killed militants were categorized militants and were wanted by law in many crime cases,” the spokesman said.
The IGP said that two local militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba first entered the masjid in Naina, Pulwama and after initial exchange of fire they took shelter in a nearby structure. “Both were killed,” he said.
Defence Spokesman in Srinagar Colonel Emron Musavi said that ssecurity forces established an initial cordon comprising 25 houses at Naina, Batpora, Pulwama.
“Systematic search commenced at 7:45 am. During the search, it was discovered that the militants had taken shelter inside a masjid. The militants were spotted to be located in the top floor of the minaret. Simultaneously civilians from nearby houses were evacuated. The security forces maintained continuous surveillance on the movement of the militants,” he said.
He said that at around 10:10 am, the militants opened indiscriminate fire and lobbed grenades from the top of the minaret onto their own troops in the cordon. “Fire was retaliated by troops who had occupied dominating positions resulting in the neutralisation of two militants. Earlier, the grenade lobbing by the militants caused splinter injuries to three soldiers,” he said.