Seven people including a civilian and two soldiers were killed in gunfight in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Sunday, police said, in what was the deadliest encounter in the Valley this year.
Four militants were also shot dead and it wasn’t immediately clear how the civilian – who had been taken hostage by the gunmen– had died.
The officials said that three more soldiers were injured in the gun battle and four weapons were recovered.
The gunfire erupted after security forces received inputs about the presence of militants in the Nagbal Frisal village of Kulgam.
Police said they cordoned the village on Saturday night and the encounter began during searches in the early hours on Sunday. The gun battle was raging when the reports last came in.
“Seven persons have died in the encounter including a civilian, two army soldiers and four militants,” said deputy inspector general of south Kashmir, SP Pani.
He said all the militants were locals. “We are ascertaining their identities,” he said.
The DIG said that they made announcements on public address system for the “release of any civilians” in the house in which militants were hiding.
“We made announcements for the release of civilians, some of which materialised some did not. The civilian who was killed was held hostage by the militants,” Pani said.
He did not identify the civilian but the local reports suggested that he may have been one of the house owners.
#UPDATE: Bodies of 2 terrorists recovered during encounter b/w security forces & terrorists in Kulgam's Yaripora (J&K); Operation still on.— ANI (@ANI_news) February 12, 2017
The last few months have seen a spate in militant strikes in the border state, with gunmen targeting security personnel and defence installation.
On February 04, two Hizbul Mujahideen commanders were killed in a shootout on highway in Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. A superintendent of police and a sub inspector were also wounded in the encounter.
On January 16, three militants were killed in Anantnag district of south Kashmir in a gunfight with security forces.