February 2017 News

Kashmir Valley Encounter Leaves 2 Soldiers, 4 Militants And 2 Civilians Dead

12 February 2017
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: In the fiercest encounter in the Valley this year, seven people - two soldiers, four terrorists and a civilian sympathiser of the militants - were killed during a 10-hour gunbattle in Frisal village of militant-infested Kulgam district, 60km from J&K's summer capital, on Sunday. One more person was killed later during clashes between protesters and police. While the security forces surrounded the house in Frisal village to flush out the terrorists, they were stopped by a barrage of gunfire from within, leading to a prolonged firefight in which four men - identified as members of Lashkare-Taiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen - were killed. Ashiq Ahmed Rishi, the son of the house owner, was shot dead after he allegedly hurled stones at the soldiers as the encounter raged on. Eighteen people were injured and one killed in clashes between protesters and police which erupted following a civilian's death in the encounter. Most of the injured suffered bullet wounds. Four of them were shifted to Srinagar for treatment. DGP S P Vaid said civilian sympathisers tried to disrupt the operation against the terrorists who were hiding in a residential area. Winter months usually witness a lull in terror activity. But Sunday's encounter was a result of proactive search based on intelligence inputs that had identified the house in which the terrorists were hiding. Terrorist sympathisers have grown in recent months. They are often seen trying to prevent security forces from taking action against terrorists. The Armymen killed were Lance Naik Bandoriya Gopal Singh, 33, of village Gokul Chand Chali Chamanpura in Gujarat's Ahmedabad district, and sepoy Raghubeer Singh, 31, of village Makholi in Uttarakhand. The four terrorists were identified as Mudasir Ahmad Tantra of Redwani, Farooq Ahmad Dar, of Arow in Kulgam, and Younis Qadir Lone of Haoura. The body of the fourth slain terrorist is yet to be identified, cops said. Police said they regretted the death of Mushtaq Ahmad Itoo, 22, of Hatigam village. Itoo was part of the protest against the killing of the civilian in the encounter. Brigadier R Chakarborty said it was a joint operation by the Army and special operations group of J&K Police and that 'the terrorists were linked with Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen'. He said the terrorists had been active in the area for last two years.

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