5 militants, 3 soldiers killed in Valley
12 June 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Special Correspondent
Srinagar: Three militants and three soldiers died in a fierce gunbattle between militants and security forces on Lolab valley of Kupwara district since last evening. Meanwhile, two infiltrating militants were killed in another gunbattle close to LoC in Gulmarg sector today. Informed sources told EXCELSIOR that troops of Rashtriya Rifles 18 Bn launched a cordon and search operation alongwith SOG Kupwara in Gagal forest area, in Lolab, in the wee hours today. According to the specific information, six militants of Lashka-e- Toiba were present at a jungle hideout at Chak Changri. During the operation, an encounter took place between the militants and security forces which lasted for about 10 hours and ended at 1800 hours. The operation, in which two units of SOG Kupwara, and five companies of RR 18 Bn participated, was supervised by Commanding Officer of RR 18 Bn and SSP Kupwara. Sources said that during the operation, militants left two soldiers, Sepoy Ram Kumar and Rifleman Abdul Hameed Charu, who was a resident of the nearby Dadpora, Lalpora, village and posted with 162 Territorial Army, dead and six others injured. All the six soldiers were evacuated and ferried to 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar in five helicopter sorties. Doctors said that two of the soldiers were critical and four were satisfactorily responding to the treatment at the military hospital. Another jawan succumbed to his injuries in the evening. In retaliation, troops gunned down three militants. One of them, according to official sources, had been identified as Lashkar-e- Toiba's Kupwara 'Financial Chief' Abu Moosa, a Pakistani national. Officials said that Abu Moosa had been continuously operating in Lolab valley since 2002. They believed that all the three were from Lashkar-e-Toiba. They admitted that three militants of the group managed to escape. Reports from Kupwara added that dead body of 65- year-old Ghulam Rasool Lone S-o Abdul Khaliq Lone R-o Sarkalipora, Lashtiyal, was spotted and recovered outside his village today. Residents alleged that Lone had been captured as a suspect by Army and subsequently tortured to death. They converged on roads and demanded thorough investigation into the whole episode. While shouting slogans, a group of Kupwara residents insisted that Lone had been 'tortured to death' during the course of interrogation. People blocked the road for some time and dispersed only after an FIR (death in mysterious cicumstances) was registered against Army. Sources in north Kashmir added that troops of 2-Garhwal intercepted a group of infiltrating militants near Phoolan Post, close to LoC in Gulmarg sector. An encounter took place in which two militants got killed. Officials maintained that the militants killed were apparently Pakistani nationals. Sources in north Kashmir said that troops of RR 21 Bn held three persons while sanitising Handwara town for Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's arrival for addressing a workers convention at Environment Hall. One of them was picked up from road and two others from an STD booth. During questions, one of them revealed that he had a grenade at his home in Darishpora village, 4 km from Handwara. Army and Police took the youth to his home from where a hand grenade was recovered. Three of the detained suspects have been identified as Imtiyaz Ahmed Ganai S-o Ghulam Nabi Ganai, Sajjad Ahmed Tantray S-o Abdul Khaliq and Akhtar Rasool Tantray S-o Ghulam Rasool Tantray, all residents of Darishpora, Handwara. Sources said Police and Army were quizzing the detainees to find if they had any intention or plan of any subversive activity around Chief Minister's rally in the town.