Shopian gunbattle ends; Major among five killed

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Apr 26, 2014 20:01 IST

Two Army personnel, including a Major, and three militants were killed in an encounter in south Kashmir's Shopian district here on Friday.

Confirming the deaths of Major Mukund Vardharajan and a jawan, a police spokesman here said the encounter operation at Karewa Manlo village, 55 km from Srinagar, was "over".

The police also confirmed deaths of the militants on late Friday evening. The police spokesman added that the soldier was critically injured during the gunfight on Friday and passed away during the night.

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

"We cordoned the area after information about presence of three militants in a house in the area.

Two militants were killed on Friday," SP Shopian Showkat Shah told the Hindustan Times.

According to sources, the Army personnel were killed, after the third militant, who was believed dead, rose from the debris of the blasted house and fired at the Army personnel.

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

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

"All the three militants are locals and belong to the Hizbul Mujahidden. Shabir was a murder convict, who escaped the police custody and later joined militancy," Shah added.

Pulwama has witnessed killings of four people, including two village heads, in the last one week.

Pulwama and Shopian are part of the Anantnag constituency, which went to polls on April 24.

According to sources, Haq was the latest recruit in the ranks.

Meanwhile, Asif is believed to have been active since last three years and was close associate of Hizbul commander, Altaf Baba, who was killed in Rajpora area of Pulwama district in 2013.

The house in which the militants were holed up was completely destroyed. The encounter in Shopian took place a day after militants carried out an attack on a polling party, escorted by the police and CRPF, in the district at the end of voting on Thursday.

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

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