The death toll in the gunbattle that raged in north Kashmir’s Sopore on Tuesday morning reached six with the killing of one more militant on Wednesday. Two army personnel, including a major, were injured in the encounter.
Eyewitnesses told the Hindustan Times that fresh exchange of fire resumed on Wednesday morning after the nightlong lull at Saidapora area of Sopore, 55 km north of Srinagar. The operation started around 2:30pm on Tuesday morning and militants started firing at searching party since 3:30pm.
The army and the police had called off its search operation late Tuesday evening after around 15-hour gunbattle, which left five militants dead.
“Six bodies of militants were recovered so far from the encounter site,” said Sopore superintendent of police Imtiyaz Hussain, who is part of the operation.
Hussain said among the slain militants one is a local youth .“He has been identified as Athar Yousuf Dar alias Naveed, son of Mohammad Yousuf Dar, a resident of Bismilllah Colony, Sopore,” said the SP.
The identity of the other militants is being ascertained. “The body of the slain local militant was handed over to the next of the kin for last rites,” said the police officer. Preliminary police report suggest all other five militants are non-locals.
Two army personnel, including a major of 22 Rashtriya Rifles and a sepoy, were injured in early morning bout of firing from the hiding militant. The injured were shifted to Srinagar hospital. A chopper was put into service for aerial surveillance to ensure no militant flee from the encounter site.
The police said the group had recently entered into Sopore from other areas of north Kashmir as the LeT cadre was depleting in Sopore. The operation is still going on.
Three houses and a cow shed have been damaged in the two-day long encounter. Sopore town observed a shutdown and there were reports of stone throwing in certain pockets.
Moderate Hurriyat has accused the security forces of using “disproportionate” fire power to kill the militants.
“The Hurriyat condemn the loss of property and blasting of houses by the security forces during the fight with rebels,” said Hurriyat spokesman in Srinagar.
The spokesman alleged that the harsh laws have given license to security forces to kill and destroy the properties.
The spokesman paid tributes to, what he called the martyrs of Kashmir, and said, “It was due to the sacrifices that the long pending Kashmir issue came to the limelight …In future Kashmiris would continue to give sacrifices till the permanent solution of Kashmir is arrived.”