Two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants including a B.Tech degree holder and an army man were killed in a six hour long gunfight in Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday.
A police official said a search and cordon operation was launched by joint parties of army’s 22 Rashtriya Rifles, Special Operation Group (SOG) of police and CRPF at Drusso, Rafiabad in Sopore following credible inputs about presence of militants in the area.
“After plugging of all the possible escape routes, police men made announcements through public address system asking the militants trapped in the cordon to surrender and lay down weapons. However, the militants rejected the surrender offer and fired from automatic weapons towards the search party,” he said.
The fire was returned by the troops, triggering an encounter. In the ensuing firefight, two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were killed and tywo army men and policeman injured.
The injured security men were evacuated to army hospital, where critically injured army man identified as Sepoy Vijay Kumar succumbed to injuries.
The deceased militants were identified as Reyaz Ahmad Dar son of Mohd Akbar of Naseerabad, Sopore and Khursheed Ahmad Malik son of Ghulam Nabi Malik of Arabal Nikas, Pulwama.
Khurshid, a B.Tech degree holder, had gone missing from his home in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday while Reyaz had joined militant ranks on July 18 after his release from Kathua jail.
According to family members, Dar was released by police after spending two years in Kotbalwal jail under Public Safety Act.
Police said Dar was arrested on charges of stone pelting in 2016 under FIR number 404/2016.
After the encounter, authorities suspended mobile internet devices in Sopore town and Rafiabad areas and also ordered closure of schools as a precautionary measure.
A complete shutdown was observed in parts of Rafiabad and Sopore town after the killing of two militants.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in funeral prayers of Reyaz at his native place at Naseerabad locality of Sopore amidst chanting of pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Reyaz’s body was buried at martyrs graveyard at Chinkipora, a graveyard where Afghan militant Akbar Bhai is buried.
Riyaz was the lone son of his family. He is survived by sister and elderly parents.
After the burial, hundreds of youth clashed with police and CRPF me in the area. The cops fired tear smoke shells and resorted to heavy baton charge to disperse the agitating youth.
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