Two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday morning, police said.
In a statement issued to the media on Thursday evening, the army said an operation was launched by the police and the army in Malwar village near Zudur area of Pulwama district in the morning, based on specific intelligence inputs.
“As the Army commenced the search of suspected house, the heavy volume of fire was drawn by the terrorists hiding inside the house following which a gun battle ensued. The security forces effectively cordoned off the house to prevent escape of the terrorists. At about 10.00 am, while making an attempt to escape from the cordoned house both the terrorists were gunned down by the security forces,” the army statement said.
Police said one of the militants has been identified as a Kashmiri man named Manzoor Ahmad of Gandibagh in Kakpora area of south Kashmir – and the other, a foreigner – who has been identified by his code name, Abu Aayan.
Arms, including an AK-47 rifle and a Chinese pistol, and ammunition were also recovered, army said.
This encounter is yet another in the series of consecutive gun battles that the Valley has seen in last few weeks.
Series of attacks in the state
In June itself, there have been at least 10 encounters between forces and militants, many of them along the Line of Control (LoC), besides the attack on a CRPF convoy in Pampore, another attack on a BSF convoy, gunning down of two policemen in Anantnag and a lone militant on a bus attacking security personnel in Udhampur district.
Protests break out
Meanwhile, residents of the area said local youth gathered and pelted stones at the security personnel and police resorted to firing tear-gas shells on the protesters. An eye-witness from Pulwama told HT over the phone that the situation returned to normal by afternoon and only a few people complained of being injured in the clashes. Police said the situation was being monitored but “under control”.
Worrying emerging trend
Both political and security observers say it is an emerging trend where hundreds of angry youth gathers at the scene of a gun battle between forces and militants, and try to distract the personnel from pursuing the militants. They pelt stones and shout anti-India slogans in their efforts to somehow help the militants escape the forces.
The state police had warned civilians to stay out of encounter sites in February. Yet, even after the advisory, youths were seen coming out in solidarity with militants and protest against the personnel on multiple occasions. Moreover, funeral of militants also sees gathering of thousands.