Two Militants Killed, 2 Cops Injured In Gun Battle

14 April 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Two militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) were killed and 2 police men were injured today in a fierce gun battle that raged last evening and continued for about 22 hours in Ahmad Nagar area of Srinagar. A police spokesman identified the two militants as Chota Hafeez and Huzaifa Sindhi. 'They are foreigners and were associated with the LeT,' he added. A police official said that acting on a tip-off, Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police and 23 Battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and SSB cordoned off Shadab Colony in Ahmad Nagar area of North Srinagar last evening. 'We had specific input about the presence of militants inside a house,' he added. Militants had taken shelter in the house of Abdul Majeed Rangraiz when police and para-military forces cordoned off the locality. When the forces tried to enter the house, militants fired at them resulting in the injuries to an SOG constable Qazi Maqsood. 'As the gunfight started, Rangraiz, his wife and their daughter were inside the house. Despite their presence, the firing continued for several hours,' the official said. The gunfire continued till 8 p.m. and the operation was suspended for the night, However, residents said intermittent firing was going on. Sources said that among the three trapped people, daughter of the house owner managed to come out of the house last night while the couple - Abdul Majeed and his wife - came out this morning. Police and para-military forces also evacuated civilians from the adjacent house before launching an assault early today. The gun fight continued till 4:30 p.m. and both the militants were killed. One Head Constable of the SOG Tazeem was hit by bullet in his hand today and he was rushed to nearby SKIMS hospital. Militants gave tough time to the police and para-military forces as they were frequently changing their positions. A senior police official said that the militants had taken the family members hostage and it was a challenge for the security forces to evacuate them first. He said these militants were active in Ganderbal, Kangan and Tral area for past five months. Two houses, belonging to Abdul Majeed Rangraiz and Mukhtar Ahmad, were gutted in the gun battle. Fire and Emergency services were immediately brought in but the house had suffered major damage. A Jamait-ul-Mujahideen (JuM) spokesman told a local news agency that two JuM militants were hiding in a house at Ahmad Nagar and both had a constant contact with their militant headquarters till the gun battle erupted. Soon after the Ahmad Nagar gun battle ended clashes and protests broke out in the area. Scores of youth from different lanes and by-lanes came out on roads in protest. They pelted stones and charged batons on the protesters and fired tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters. In the meantime, hundreds of people today attended funeral prayers of two foreign militants who were killed in an encounter in South Kashmir's Khrew area yesterday. Police handed over the bodies of the two militants to the local Auqaf committee Androosa for their last rites this evening. The bodies were taken in a procession from Pampore Police Station to the graveyard at Androosa. Earlier in the day, a complete shutdown was observed in Pampore and adjoining areas including Konabal, Wuyen and Androosa to mourn the death of the two militants with shops and other commercial establishments remaining closed throughout the day. And hundreds of Muslims attended the last rites of constable Vinod Kumar of Hariparigam village of Tral in Pulwama district today. He was killed by militants yesterday at Khrew. Police, Army and CRPF cordoned off several localities in South Kashmir district of Pulwama after they received information about the presence of top militant commanders hiding in the area. The SOG Budgam, SOG Srinagar and SOG Pulwama, 50 RR, 55 RR , 182 CRPF and 183 CRPF cordoned off village Hassanvani in Pulwama district at around 12 noon. The cordoned and search operation continued till 5 p.m. but no militant was found in the village. The operation was later called off.