THREE MILITANTS, including a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old, affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), were killed by security forces in an 18-hour gunbattle Sunday morning on the outskirts of Srinagar. J&K police said one of the slain militants is suspected to have been a Pakistani national.
According to the J&K police, the gunbattle broke out Saturday evening when the militants fired at security forces who were engaged in a cordon and search operation in the Mujgund area following a tip-off.
One Army personnel sustained injuries in the gunbattle and is undergoing treatment, said police. Three civilians were also injured and shifted to hospital where they are stable, they said. Local residents said that five houses suffered damage during the encounter.
“Three terrorists were neutralised and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter,” a J&K police spokesperson said.
The militants who were killed have been identified as Mudasir Rashid Parray, 15 and Saqib Bilal, 17, both from the Hajin area of Bandipore district. “From the material evidence collected”, the third militant has been identified as Ali, a Pakistani national, police said in a statement.
“Ali, according to police records, was involved in several terror crimes and several terror cases were registered against him including attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities,” the statement said.
“The encounter ended between 10.30-11.00 am today,” CRPF IGP Ravideep Sahi told The Indian Express.
On Saturday night and Sunday morning, heavy clashes were reported in the area as people tried to march towards the encounter sites after which security forces resorted to tear-gas shelling. Clashes also erupted in Hajin town, police said. Mobile internet was suspended in Srinagar and Bandipore district, they said.
“Around 5 pm yesterday, the forces searched our house and after some time, we were asked to leave. No militant was hiding in my house, but still it was burnt down,” said a resident from the area, who requested anonymity.
Police officers, however, said houses in the area suffered damaged as the militants kept shifting their location. “The Pakistani militant was trained and kept changing his location continuously. This was also why the encounter took such a long time,” a police officer said.
A senior police officer in Bandipore told The Indian Express that Mudasir and Saqib had joined the militancy around four months ago. “They joined on the same day and were moving together,” the officer said.
The families of both the teenagers had appealed for them to return home but in vain. Mudasir’s family said that he was 15 years old but police said they were yet to verify his age. Recently, a photograph of Mudasir posing with a weapon had gone viral on social media sites in the Valley.