Three militants and a police officer were killed in a gunfight on the outskirts of Srinagar city on Saturday night. While the policeman has been identified as an officer of the anti-militancy Special Operations group (SOG) of J&K Police, two of the militants had no past record of militancy.
On Saturday night, militants fired at a police checkpoint at Pantha Chowk on the outskirts of the city. Police said the militants tried to snatch weapons from a checkpoint manned by personnel of J&K Police and CRPF.
“Yesterday, at about 2200 hrs, in a weapon snatching bid, terrorists fired indiscriminately upon a joint naka party of Police and CRPF at Pantha Chowk area of Srinagar,” Police said in an official statement. “The attempt was foiled by the alert naka party and terrorists managed to flee from the spot.”
Police said that in the initial exchange of fire, a police officer sustained bullet wounds and was shifted to the Army’s 92 Base hospital, where he succumbed. They identified the officer as Assistant Sub Inspector Babu Ram.
Police sources said Babu Ram was associated with the J&K Police’s elite counter insurgency force Special Operations Group (SOG) and was part of its anti-fidayeen squad.
After the initial exchange of fire, the militants escaped from the checkpoint, pursued by police and paramilitary personnel with the help of reinforcements from the Army, said police.
The forces cordoned off the area and started searches to locate the militants.
“During the cordon and search as the presence of hiding terrorists was ascertained, they were given opportunity to surrender but they fired indiscriminately upon the search party,” police said. “In the meantime, their respective families were also called and repeated surrender appeals were made to them through their family members. However, they refused to surrender and instead fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which was retaliated leading to an encounter.”
Saqib Basher Khanday, Umar Tariq Bhat and Zubair Ahmad Sheikh, all residents of Drangbal in south Kashmir’s Pampore, have been identified by police as Lashkar-e-Taiba militants. Police sources said that while Saqib was an active militant, there was no militancy record against Umar and Zubair.
“As per police records, the killed terrorists were part of groups involved in planning and executing several terror attacks in the area. Besides weapon snatching bid at J&K Bank Pampore, Saqib Bashir was also involved in motivating and radicalising the youth of the area to join terror fold,” police said.
Family members of the militants said police could have avoided killing them as they could have captured easily.
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