Four Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants including three locals were killed on Saturday in a 10-hour gunfight with the government forces in Hajin village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
“A siege was laid around Hajin Payeen village in Rajpora area of Pulwama in the wee hours of Saturday after specific inputs about the presence of militants in the area,” a Police spokesman said.
As searches were initiated, militants who were hiding in a residential house fired at a search party.
“The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight in which four militants were killed. The bodies were retrieved from the site of gunfight and incriminating material including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site,” the Police spokesman said.
The slain militants were identified as Waseem Ahmad Wani from Tikuna village, Muzamil Nazir Bhat from Prichoo village, Muzamil Nabi Dar from Rahmoo village of district Pulwama and a foreigner, Haris.
All militants belonged to JeM, Police said.
An Army official said it was the same group which had attacked a CRPF camp in Bellov village, some 2 km from the gunfight site on Friday evening.
“The group was tracked during the night after intelligence inputs,” he said. “One militant was killed Friday evening and three Saturday morning.”
Locals said a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) was launched in the village during night and the militants were trapped inside a two-storey house.
They said after taking the family members of that house to a neighbour’s house, the government forces fired toward the particular house and after sometime, the house owner was sent inside to see if the militants had been killed.
Locals said the militants escaped from the house and entered another house, which was still under construction, from which militants engaged the government forces till morning when they were killed.
The residents said the firing started at around 1 am and continued till 9 am after which there was a lull for some time.
“The sounds of blasts and gun shots were heard again before it came to end around 11 am,” they said. “The house in which militants were hiding suffered severe damages after it was blasted with explosives.”
The residents said it was a two-storey under-construction house and the family was yet to shift to it.
The locals said as soon as the news of the gunfight spread, youth from various areas started marching near the site of gunfight and pelted stones at the government forces, who retailed firing pellets and shells.
Locals from Rajpora said some youth suffered pellet injuries in the action of the government forces and were shifted to Community Health Centre, Rajpora.
Authorities at CHC Rajpora said they received 28 people with minor pellet injuries.
“Except three injured, who were referred to District Hospital Pulwama and SMHS, all other were treated at the hospital,” the authorities said.
Clashes were also reported in Prichoo outskirts near Kharpora Chowk.
Eyewitnesses said some youth pelted stones at the government forces, who retaliated firing, pellets and tear smoke canisters.
They said a few youth received injuries in the action of the government forces.
Authorities at District Hospital Pulwama said apart from three persons referred from CHC Rajpora, they received four injured.
They said of total seven injured, four including three pellet injuries in eye and one bullet injury in hand, were referred to SMHS.
Thousands of people turned up in the funeral of the three locals militants at Rahmoo, Tikuna and Prichoo villages rising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
After multiple funerals, the slain militants were laid to rest in their village graveyards.
Off the three killed militants, Muzamil Nabi Dar of Rahmoo was pursuing BCA before joining militant ranks.
Waseem was a B.A. 1st year student and Muzamil Nazir Bhat was engaged with farming.