3-ft tall JeM commander killed in Samboora encounter Civilian injured, house damaged; Militants offer gun salute to fallen comrade

A 3-ft tall top commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad was killed in an encounter with troops in Samboora village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday.
A police official said police, Rashtriya Rifles, and CRPF men launched a joint search operation in Karnabal locality of Samboora in Pulwama last evening after receiving inputs about presence of militants there.
The forces searched some houses near Pulwama –Srinagar highway at around 10 pm.
“As troops zeroed in on a house, the militants hiding there, fired towards the search party. The fire was returned by the troops, triggering an encounter,” the police sources said.
They said the encounter lasted till 4 am and body of a militant was retrieved from the encounter site.
The slain militant was identified as top Jaish commander Noor Mohammad Tantray, a resident of Gani Gund Tral.
DGP S P Vaid had tweeted that they had input about presence of 2 to 3 militants in the area, who were planning to carry an attack on a convoy along Srinagar –Jammu highway.
Sources said two militants managed to escape during the gunfight.
A civilian identified as Janbaaz Ahmad Shakhsaaz son of Manzoor Ahmad Shakhsaaz was injured in the encounter.
“He received bullet injury on leg and was shifted to Bone and Joints Hospital Srinagar,” Taja Banoo, his aunt said.
She said forces also took two youth along with them.
The locals said the house where from militants were firing on troops was damaged during the encounter. “Besides, two makeshift huts in the close neighbourhood, which were used by Manzoor Ahmad for residential purpose, were damaged after catching fire. Windowpanes of some adjoining houses were also broken.”
Police termed Noor’s killing as a major jolt to Jaish-e-Mohammad and militancy.
He is said to have worked as over ground worker before joining militant ranks in July this year.
Locally, he had become popular as 3-feet tall militant.
As the news of his death spread, a spontaneous shutdown was observed in Kakapora, Pulwama town, Awantipora and Tral.
Youth at many places took to roads and peltied stones on the forces, who fired teargas shells to disperse them.
The authorities also enforced restrictions in his native area in Tral to foil protests.
However, defying restrictions thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of the deceased militant held at his native Darganaie Gund village of Aripal, Tral amidst chanting of pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
There are reports that few militants also appeared during the funeral prayers of Tantray. They fired some rounds in air while Tantray’s body was being laid to rest.