March 2018 News

5 Security Men, 2 Militants Killed In Kupwara; Toll 10

21 March 2018
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: In the fiercest gun battle of the year, five security force personnel and two militants were killed today in the forests of North Kashmir's Kupwara district taking the death toll in the encounter since last evening to 10. Three soldiers of the Army and two Special Operation Group (SOG) personnel were killed in the encounter with militants at Check Fatehkhan, Halmatpora area of North Kashmir's Kupwara district while two more militants were shot down today taking the toll to 10. SSP Kupwara, Shamsher Hussein said that five militants and five security force personnel were killed in the encounter since last evening. The deceased have been identified as Havaldar Zorawar of 3 JAK Rifles, who was attached with 160 Territorial Army (TA), Mohammad Ashraf Rather of 10 TA battalion, Naik Ranjeet Khalho of 5 Bihar while two SOG men SPO Mohammad Yousuf Cheche of Kachama, Kupwara and Deepak Thusoo of Nagrota, Jammu. Four security forces personnel including Sub Inspector (SI) Harvinder Singh, Javaid Ahmad of SOG, an Army soldier and a CRPF personnel were also injured in the gun battle. Sources said that the five killed militants were Pakistanis and belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and had infiltrated into the area last week. The Army pressed drones to track the militant movement after the killing of the five security men. Earlier army also rushed reinforcement of 5 Bihar and 4 para commandos. Sources said that the fifth militant was shot dead by the para commandos. They said that five AK-47, six Matrix sheets, GPS devices, and wireless sets and other ammunition was recovered from their possession. Sources said that the operation was launched yesterday after a group of women who had gone to the forests for collecting Morchella saw a group of militants praying in the forests. As the news about the group of militants spread in the village, security forces cordoned of forest area and conducted operation against them. Sources said that after the killing of 3 militants last evening there was lull in the firing and it was raining in the forest area and this afternoon, the troops thought that there is no militant hiding in the area and they made movement for which the militants were waiting and they fired at them indiscriminately in which nine security men were injured out of whom five later died. A police spokesman said here that in the forest of Halmatpora Kupwara on receiving specific inputs, Kupwara police along with 41 RR, 160 TA, 98 and 162 battalions of CRPF launched a search operation in the area. 'While the search was going on the hiding terrorists fired upon the search party. The fire was retaliated by the security forces ensuing an encounter. In the ongoing encounter, so far 5 terrorists have been neutralised; all of whom are understood to be foreign terrorists and part of a freshly infiltrated group', he said. 'In the process huge cache of arms and ammunition and other incriminating materials which include AK 47 rifles, grenades, etc were recovered from the encounter site. In the ongoing encounter two policemen Sgct Deepak Thusoo and SPO Mohammad Yousuf and three Army personnel including Sepoy Ashraf Rather of 160 TA and NK Ranjeet Kholka of 5 Bihar were martyred', he said. 'Earlier in the exchange of fire one SPO namely Javaid Ahmad was also injured and subsequently shifted to hospital for treatment .His condition is stable. It is pertinent to mention here that the encounter is in progress in the dense forests area. Owing to the thick vegetation and low visibility the security forces are mopping the area with due caution. In this connection a case has been registered and investigation has already been started under the relevant provisions of the law by the police', the spokesman added. Meanwhile, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, has paid rich tributes to police and Army personnel, who were killed in Halmatpora Kupwara gunfight today. She expressed solidarity with the bereaved families of the deceased and prayed for peace to the departed souls. Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh has paid tributes to the police and Army personnel martyred in Halmatpora Kupwara, gunfight today. He has conveyed his heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families of the deceased and prayed for peace to the departed souls.

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