5 militants killed in Kulgam encounter

ESS AHMAD. Dated: 2/11/2019 3:52:36 PM

12 injured in clashes near gunfight site

ANANTNAG, Jan 10: Five militants belonging to Hizb-ul-Mujahideen were killed in a gunfight with government forces in Kelam village of southern Kulgam district on Sunday. During the clashes triggered by the gunfight over a dozen people suffered injuries.
The gunfight, officials said, raged in the village in the pre-dawn hours after the joint team of 9 RR, special operations group (SOG) of police and CRPF laid a siege to the area following credible input about the presence of militants.
After tightening the cordon, officials said, as the forces zeroed in on a particular house, the militants hiding there opened fire. The fire was retaliated by the forces triggering a gunfight.
The gunfight continued for at least eight hours during which all the five holed up militants were killed.
Official sources said forces after facing stiff resistance from the militants blasted the house using explosives after which there was no firing from inside.
However, they said, when the forces started removing debris to search for the bodies there was fresh firing from the militants triggering another round of firefight.
"Though three militants had been killed in the initial gunfight but after coming under fresh firing forces again blasted the house
"Forces had retrieved only three bodies when they came under fresh firing following which they blasted the house again killing two other militants," said an official.
Police identified the killed militants as Wasim Ahmad Rather of Ashmuji Kulgam, Zahid Ahmad Paray of Gopalpora Kulgam, Idrees Ahmad Bhat from Arwani Bijbehara, Aqib Nazir of Zangalpora Kulgam and Parvez Ahmad Bhat of Quimu Kulgam. All the slain had joined militant ranks in different months of 2018.
SP Kulgam, Harmeet Singh told reporters that the militants after being surrounded were asked to surrender which they refused.
"After their refusal we launched an operation during which five militants were killed. Five AK 47 rifles and other ammunition was recovered from their possession," SP told reporters.
The gunfight also triggered massive clashes in the area after the youth tried to march towards the encounter site in an attempt to disrupt the operation.
Witnesses said scores of youth amid frosty weather and cold assembled at a distance from the gunfight site and tried to march towards the actual spot where militants and forces were engaged in a firefight. However, on being stopped by the forces from moving ahead, witnesses said, youth threw stones and snow balls at them triggering clashes. During the clashes that continued till the conclusion of the gunfight at least 13 persons were wounded after being hit by pellets.
Health officials said eight persons with pellet injuries were taken to district hospital Kulgam while others were treated at nearby PHC. Two of the injured who had suffered pellet injuries in their eyes were reportedly shifted to SMHS for advanced treatment.
Though the bodies of all the slain were handed over to their families for last rites but none of the slain had been buried till this report was being filed.
Local sources said all the slain will be laid to rest on Monday in their respective villages.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Kulgam district against the killing of militants even as the authorities gagged the mobile internet services in the district.



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