TWO ARMY personnel, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), lost their lives and six militants were killed in separate gunbattles in Jammu’s Rajouri and Kashmir’s Pulwama and Kulgam, officials said.
Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed Thursday in parts of the Valley to mark the fifth year since militant commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces.
In Rajouri, sources told The Indian Express that Naib Subedar Sreejith M and Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Reddy were killed in a gunbattle at Daddal village in the Sunderbani sector during an operation by security forces to foil an infiltration bid.
Two “foreign terrorists” from Pakistan were gunned down in the incident while another soldier was injured, officials said.
Four other militants were killed in successive encounters following a search operation in Kashmir, officials said.
According to sources, the encounter in Rajouri took place after security forces came across a group of militants who had infiltrated from across the border recently. The Army had been engaged in extensive search operations in the area since June 29.
Army spokesperson Lt Colonel Devender Anand said that following information received Wednesday about the presence of militants, a “search and destroy” patrol seeking “proactive engagement with the terrorists was launched” in the Dadal forest area.
“The terrorists, on being challenged, opened fire and lobbed hand grenades. The troops retaliated, leading to a fierce encounter in which two foreign terrorists from Pakistan were killed,” he said.
Two AK-47 rifles and ammunition were recovered, and a search operation is in progress across the area, officials said.
In Pulwama, officials said that on Wednesday night, a joint team of J&K Police, Army and CRPF launched a “cordon and search” operation in Puchal village after receiving inputs about the presence of militants. The militants tried to break the cordon by lobbing grenades and opening fire, leading to a gunfight in which two of them were killed, they said.
Police identified the slain militants as Kifayat Ramzan and Inayat Ahamd Dar, both residents of Pulwama district, and said they were affiliated to the Al Badr outfit.
A few hours later, officials said, another gunbattle took place in Kulgam where a joint team of police, Army and CRPF had laid multiple checkpoints at Zadora village of Qazigund based on inputs on the movement of militants.
J&K police said in a statement that “when a suspicious vehicle was signalled to stop”, two militants “came out from the vehicle and started firing indiscriminately”. “However, the alert party retaliated effectively, leading to the elimination of two terrorists on the spot,” police said.
Police identified the two killed as Nasir Ahmad Pandith of Redwani Kulgam and Shahbaz Ahmad Shah of Katrusu Kulgam, and said they were associated with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
Meanwhile, several shops and business establishments in Srinagar city and other towns in the Valley were shut, with fewer vehicles on the road, following a shutdown call purportedly issued by the Pakistan-based representative of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
However, J&K Police had termed the call as fake and warned of action against anybody circulating it. “As per family sources, SAS Geelani tweet is fake and issued by someone from Pakistan. Police are taking action against those who are circulating it to instigate violence,” police had said.
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