Two security personnel, including a police officer, and one militant were killed in a major search operation against militants in south Kashmir’s Tral area on Tuesday afternoon. The killings have come just a week before commencement of Panchayat polls in the valley.
Personnel of the army’s 42 RR, CRPF and the police’s special operation group launched a joint search operation in Dadasar village in Tral, 40 km south of Srinagar, around noon on Tuesday. From 12 pm to 2:30 pm, the combing operation was launched where several houses and the residents were searched and frisked in the village.
“In the process of cordoning off Ratherpora village, the security forces’ patrol zeroed in on the house of Javaid Akbar Sheikh. The militants were suspected to be hiding there and left the premises as soon as patrol party headed in around 2:30 pm,” said a senior police officer on the condition of anonymity.
Sheikh’s house is situated away from the village near a mustard field, which is at its full bloom and provided cover to militants.
“The hiding militants fired at the security forces. In the gunbattle, an army jawan and a police sub-inspector were killed,”army spokesman JS Brar told the Hindustan Times.
The cross-fire continued for several hours and militant Sajad Ahmad alias Bale Bale, a self styled divisional commander of Hizbul-Mujahideen militant outfit, was also killed. “The militant was involved in the recent killing of a National Conference Halqa president Ghulam Mohidin Bhat on March 30,” said a senior police officer.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that an army major of 42 RR also received bullet injuries in a shoulder. Police sources told the HT that there were two militants present in the house and one might have escaped from the encounter site.
Brar, however, refused to divulge more details about the encounter. “The operation is on. We can share more details only when the encounter is over,” said Brar.
SHO Awatipora Tariq Ahmad identified the slain sub-inspector as Stenza Narboo (35). “Narboo got killed in the first volley of bullets fired by the militants,” SHO Ahmad told the HT.
This is for the first time this year that militants inflicted casualties on the security forces in any such search operation. On March 1, one militant was killed in the same area.