2 soldiers killed in gunbattle at house of MLA’s uncle in Anantnag
16 December 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Special Correspondent
Srinagar: At least two soldiers got killed in a fierce gunbattle between militants and security forces at the residence of the uncle of a ruling PDP MLA in outskirts of Anantnag this afternoon. Troops have destroyed the house and the operation was in progress till late tonight, though none of the militants were found killed immediately. Informed sources in south Kashmir told EXCELSIOR that, on a specific information, troops of Rashtriya Rifles 7th Bn launched a cordon-and- search operation at Kadpora, about 5 Km from district headquarters of Anantnag, today. According to the tip off, a group of Lashkar-e-Toiba militants was present in the village. During the operation, some of the holed up militants took shelter in the house of one Pir Nizam-ud- din, who happens to be the uncle of MLA Shangus, Pir Mohammad Hussain. In the initial round of the firing, militants left two soldiers critically wounded. They were rushed to a military hospital, but both of them succumbed to injuries. In retaliation, troops destroyed the target house with rockets, mortars and IEDs. Late night reports said that the operation was well in progress. However, no dead bodies of any militants could be traced in the rubble. Unofficial reports said that all the holed up militants managed to escape from the cordoned area without any loss of life. However, officials were hopeful that dead or alive, militants were still in the cordoned village. SP Anantnag, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, who was available on telephone late tonight after returning from the site of encounter, confirmed that two soldiers, including a Havildar, died in the clash. He claimed that no civilian casualty took place. As regards the possible casualties suffered by militants, Bhat said that things would become clear only after the operation ended some time tomorrow and the debris was checked completely. Meanwhile, reports from Anantnag added that Police recovered a beheaded male human body from Malik Abad, Qazigund. It was later identified as that of Abdul Majeed Khan S-o Gulzar Ahmed. He was reportedly a poor labourer. Reports from north Kashmir said that militants kidnapped a forest guard, namely Mohammad Lateef Khatana S-o Mohammad Ismail from Bandipore the other day. He was untraced till late this evening. Massive seizure Informed sources in north Kashmir told EXCELSIOR that troops of a Gorkha unit of Army recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition from a militant hideout at Badi-beri Bahak, in Kupwara district today. The seizure included as many as 147 rifle grenades, 79 hand grenades, 59 bombs, RDX 25 Kgs besides three AK-56 rifles and three Chinese pistols. A large quantity of eatables and ration items was also seized from the hideout, which was destroyed.