Two militants, a policeman and a civilian was killed during a gunfight between militants and a joint team of J&K Police and CRPF in the old city area of Srinagar Wednesday morning. According to a police spokesperson, a search was launched on specific inputs regarding the presence of militants in Syed Ali Akbar area of Fateh Kadal. While the operation was on, militants fired indiscriminately from inside a house, said the spokesperson.
Police officers said one constable was killed in the gunfight and four security personnel injured. The killed militants have been identified as Mehraj-ud-Din Bangroo and Faid Mushtaq Waza, both residents of old city. Police sources said they were affiliated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
The dead policeman has been identified as Kamal Kishore. Police said the dead civilian Ahmad was the son of Habibullah Hanga, who runs a bakery and owns the house where the militants were hiding. The house was completely damaged in the encounter.
J&K DGP Dilbag Singh told reporters that with “the killings of two militants, security environment in the city will improve”.
Hanga’s family alleged that Rayees Ahmad was taken by the forces on Tuesday night to be used as a “human shield” during the search.
“We were sleeping when someone knocked on the door. The police entered and searched all rooms and didn’t find anything. Then they forcibly took him (Ahmad) for searches in other houses. Rayees insisted that he won’t go, but he was taken away,” one of the family members told The Indian Express.
ADGP, Law and order, Munir Ahmad Khan, denied the allegations. “Due to a grenade, fire broke out inside the house. Two militants and a third person jumped out of the house. He (Ahmad) got killed when he jumped out,” Khan said. Another police officer said Ahmad “misled” the search and this led to “police losing one man”.
The police spokesperson said that during the encounter, two militants and the “active accomplice” refused to come out of the house and were eventually killed. “The complicity of Rayees Ahmad, who was part of the group in providing shelter and logistics to the terrorists, is being investigated,” the spokesperson said.
Police spokesperson said Bangroo had a “long history of criminal records pertaining to terror related activities” and was involved in killing policemen. Another militant Faid Mushtaq Waza, the spokesperson said, was also involved in “terror related incidents”.
As the encounter broke out, stone-throwing youths and forces clashed in various parts of the old city. The district administration ordered the closure of schools and colleges as a precautionary step.
The Kashmir Editors Guild alleged that security personnel assaulted media personnel who were there to cover the encounter. Twenty journalists, including photographers and videographers and TV journalists, were beaten up, the group alleged. ADGP Khan said he will look into the allegations of assault.
The Joint Resistance Leadership has called for a shutdown on Thursday against “atrocities being inflicted on people”.