An aspirant of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was among two militants killed and six force personnel injured in a gunfight at Nowgam area in the outskirts of Srinagar on Wednesday.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police central Kashmir Vidhi Kumar Birdi said at around 2.30 am, police, army’s 50 Rashtria Rifles and paramilitary CRPF men launched a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) at Sothu Kothair area of Nowgam after receiving specific information about presence of militants.
He said as forces were zeroing-in on the target location, militants fired on the search party.
“The militants also threw grenades towards the force personnel, who retaliated. In the ensuing gunfight, two Hizb militants were killed,” the DIG said.
He said six army men sustained splinter injuries after militants threw grenades. The deceased militants were identified as Sabzar Ahmad Sofi of Naina village and Asif Ahmad Shergojiri of Khiram Sirigufwara in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The militants were hiding in two-story house, which was damaged due to use of heavy ammunition by security personnel during the gunfight.
“By 7 am, the gunfight was over and bodies of militants were retrieved from the gunfight site,” sources said.
According to DIG, it is said that the house where militants had taken shelter belonged to someone from south Kashmir’s shopian district and the owner had given the house on rent.
“We are investigating it,” he said.
Sabzar, an IAS aspirant-turned-militant had joined militancy in 2016 while Asif had picked up gun in January this year.
“Incriminating material including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter,” a police spokesman said.
Fearing law and order problem, authorities ordered closure of schools, colleges and suspension of class work in Kashmir University and campus-1 of Central University of Kashmir after the gunfight ended.
Authorities also suspended mobile internet services in Srinagar as a precautionary measure.
However, soon after the news about gunfight spread, youth took to streets in Nowgam and clashed with forces.
The youth pelted stones towards forces, who retaliated by firing tear smoke shells. The intense clashes continued for hours.
The clashes also erupted at Sangam area in Anantnag district after news speared that Sabzar was killed in the gunfight.
The youth threw stones on the forces deployed in the area to prevent protests. The forces resorted to tear gas shelling and pellet firing, causing injuries to three civilians.
Later, the deceased militants were buried at their native villages amidst chanting of pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Thousands of people attended the funeral prayers of the deceased militants.