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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Army major, soldier killed in Shopian encounter

HT Correspondent and agencies  Srinagar, April 26, 2014
First Published: 11:43 IST(26/4/2014) | Last Updated: 14:14 IST(26/4/2014)

An Indian Army major and a soldier as well as three militants have been killed in an encounter in south Kashmir's Shopian, officials said on Saturday.

Major Mukund Vardharajan and the jawan lost their lives in the operation in Karewa Malino village, 55 km from Srinagar,  they said.

It was initially reported that three army soldiers were killed during the gunbattle with the three militants holed up in a house in the area.

Right: Army personnel rush for a final assault near the house where Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were hiding during an encounter at Kellar in Shopian, Jammu and Kashmir. (PTI Photo) Right: A file photo of Major Mukund Vardharajan who died in the encounter.

"The gunfire stopped at 0915 hours this morning. We believe all the militants have been killed," a senior police official said.

The official said at least two militants were believed to have been killed on Friday but the exact situation will be revealed once they retrieve all the bodies.

He said a militant opened fire on the security forces in the wee hours on Saturday and they retaliated. The exchange of fire lasted nearly three hours.

Police, army's 44 Rashtriya Rifles and the Central Reserve Police Force had launched a cordon and search operation in the village close to a forest area on Friday afternoon.

The major and the soldier were killed in the operation against the militants on Friday while another soldier was injured.

The trapped militants were identified as Muhammad Asif Wani, a resident of Drubgam in neighbouring Pulwama district, Abdul Haq from Arvinipora in Shopian, and Shabir Ahmad from Keller from Pulwama.

"All the militants are locals belonging to Hizbul Mujahidden. Shabir Ahmad was a murder convict who had escaped police custody and later joined militancy," Shopian superintendent Showkat Shah told HT.

The house in which militants were holed up was completely destroyed.

The gunfight broke out between the group of militants and security forces on Friday after a specific intelligence input about their presence in Karewa-Manlo village, nearly 8 km from the district's main centre.

The militants were asked to surrender but they resorted to firing, triggering the gunfight.

Clashes between government forces and locals erupted near Narpora village after people from Drabgam and its adjacent villages tried to move towards the encounter site after the news of killing of the local militant spread in the area.

Shopian is a part of the Anantnag Parliamentary constituency and the encounter took place a day after militants carried out an attack on a polling party escorted by police and CRPF in the district at the end of the voting on Thursday.

One polling officer was killed while five others, including three security personnel, were injured in the incident.


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