Three militants were killed in an encounter and a woman died during the crossfire in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Monday.
Sources said the gunfight broke out at midnight when police, army and CRPF men jointly laid cordon and search operation in Yunsu area of Handwara along Sopore-Kupwara highway following intelligence inputs about presence of some militants there.
They said militants opened fire on the force personnel, who were zeroing-on in the area.
“The fire was returned by the troops, triggering a gunfight. In the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed,” sources said.
They said a local woman was hit by a bullet in the crossfire and succumbed to injuries later.
Police said the deceased militants were Pakistanis and affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
The deceased woman was identified as Misra Bano, 23, wife of Ishfaq Wani resident of Yunsu.
She is survived by six-month-old child besides parents and husband.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police north Kashmir range, Vidhi Kumar Birdhi told Rising Kashmir that they received information about presence of militant in the house.
“The combing operation started at around midnight and lasted till around 7 am. All three foreign militants associated with LeT were killed. Some arms and ammunition were also recovered from their possession,” he said.
According to DIG, Misra was killed due to crossfire as she could not manage to escape from her house.
“The militants were trying to come out of the house amid firing. The woman was trapped inside the house and while trying to come out, she was unfortunately caught in the crossfire and killed,” he said adding, “Other family members were already moved to safety”.
After the gunfight ended and forces withdrew from the area, locals and people from adjoining areas rushed to the encounter site.
When Misra’s family and relatives found her body near their house, people chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
They carried the body to Sopore-Kupwara highway and staged protest demonstration against the killing of the woman. The protestors blocked the vehicular movement on the highway.
After the protest, Misra’s body was taken to her home for last rites.
Thousands of people braving rains and chill participated in her funeral prayers amidst chanting of pro-freedom and pro-Islamic slogans.