Two militants were killed in a gunfight in Bhatmaran Wanpora village of Shopian district while a woman died in a bullet injury after clashes between youth and forces. Two force personnel were also injured during the encounter.
The encounter continued throughout the night after the 44RR, 14 Bn of CRPF and SOG cordoned off the area after inputs about presence of three militants in Batmuran.
The forces laid a cordon and started advancing towards the house, but the militants hiding there fired volley of bullets triggering an encounter.
One militant was identified as Tanveer Ahmad Bhat of Bhatmaran Shopain who, according to local sources, had come to meet his family. Another foreign militant was identified as Ali @Qari and from their possession two AK rifles and other ammunition was recovered.
The forces, however, laid a siege that triggered a gunfight and the two bodies were retrieved early morning by the forces from the debris at the encounter site. “Of the two militants, one is a foreign militant and the other a local of JeM outfit”, said a top police official.
As the encounter was going on hundreds of residents thronged around the house, where militants were holed in, and threw rocks and stones on the forces to aid the militants to flee.
The forces responded by firing tear gas shells, pellets and bullets in air to disperse the protesters who gave a stiff resistance till late evening, according to local sources.
Earlier forces blasted the house, where militants were holed in, with IEDs. However three houses and three cowsheds were razed in the gun battle between the forces and militants.
The cordon remained clamped throughout the night. However clashes between forces and locals resumed early morning during which third militant was able to break the cordon and flee from the spot, said a police source. Confirming this a police spokesman said that another militant fled from the encounter site.
The retaliatory action by the forces on protesting civilians this morning wounded over a dozen people while a 30 year old woman, Rubeena (Beauty Jan), died on way to Pulwama district hospital. She was shifted to the hospital where she was declared brought dead on arrival by the medicos. She had received fire arm injury in abdomen, according to a senior official of District hospital Pulwama.
The police said that the woman died in the crossfire between militants and forces during the encounter.
“We were fired upon from outside the cordon by militants who were trying to break the cordon in order to aid the militant in fleeing from the spot. That’s when this lady was hit with a bullet fired by the militants. But we are still ascertaining the facts”, said Senior Superintendent of Police Shopian, A S Dinkar. The local militant Tanveer had joined the militant ranks in 2015 and was a B category militant, he added.
Following the encounter internet services were blocked in Shopian district. Over three dozen civilians suffered injuries during the clashes since Monday evening some of whom were treated locally.
“Around 24 civilians were brought to our hospital out of which we referred some 11 people to Srinagar hospitals for specialized treatment. Four had received fire arm injuries while others were hit by pellets” said an official of district hospital Pulwama. “A lady with a bullet injury in her abdomen was brought to our hospital who was referred to SMHS hospital in a critical condition,’’ he added.
Multiple funerals were held and two militants and the woman were later buried at local graveyard. The deceased militants were involved in a number of incidents including the recent attack on the vehicle of Jammu and Kashmir Bank near Poju Shopian on 11 December in which two guards were killed, said a police official. Police further said that “ as cordon was strengthened the civilians of nearby area were evacuated.”
A police spokesman said that during the encounter, on the request of family, police made repeated announcement to get Tanveer surrendered, but he refused the offer. “ The militants continued firing on the security forces which was retaliated,’’ added a police official.
Two force personnel including an army man and a police man were also injured during the encounter. Their condition was however reported to be stable.