J-K: Three militants, teen die in gunfights between security forces and rebels.
Three militants and a 15-year-old boy were killed on Thursday in two separate gunfights between security forces and rebels in Jammu and Kashmir, police said.
Two Lashkar men were killed in south Kashmir’s Pulwama that again saw protesters throwing stones at troops, police said.
Teenager Amir Nazir, who sneaked close to the site of the gunfight, died when was hit by a stray bullet, state police chief SP Vaid said.
Death of another youth in the area fuelled rumours that he was killed during protests but police denied it, saying the man died of a cardiac arrest.
A local militant, identified as Mushtaq Ahmed, was killed during a search operation in Malangaam area of Bandipore in north Kashmir.
The gun battle in Padgampora of Pulwama broke out after security forces launched a search operation at around 2.30am after they were told about militants hiding in the village, a police official said.
Holed up in two adjacent houses, the militants opened fire and the joint team of the army and police retaliated, triggering a fierce gun battle that carried on for more than nine hours.
It ended with the death of the two gunmen.
Sources identified them as Jehangir Ganai and Shafi Sher Gujri, residents of nearby Queil who were members of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Ganai was reportedly killed in the early hours of the firing. Security forces called Gujri’s wife to the site to get him to surrender but her pleas failed to yield results.
Scores of people were present when Nazir’s body was handed over to his family in Begambagh, which is a few kilometers from Padgampora.
Eyewitnesses said he had a bullet injury to his neck.
The boy was hit by a stray bullet, police chief Vaid said. “He somehow managed to reach close to the encounter site and was hit by a stray bullet, most probably from the militant side,’’ he said.
The teen is the first civilian casualty after army chief general Bipin Rawat warned locals against preventing forces from carrying out anti-terror operations or searches, saying such people would be considered accomplices and dealt with accordingly.
Authorities are concerned about locals rushing to the sites of gunfights, which they say distract the forces and help militants get away.
Villagers attending the funeral, however, said troops opened fire and used tear gas against protesters, killing the boy and wounding three men.
The villagers had thrown stones at security forces, Vaid said, refuting the charge that troops fired at the protesters.
Similar claims were made by locals about the death of Jalialuddin, a resident of Talab Pulwama, who died in a hospital.
District police chief Rayees Mohammad Bhat said doctors said Jalialuddin had no internal or external injuries.
“The cause of death has been stated to be cardiac arrest. Doctors say there has been no bullet or pellet injury. Not even a bone has been broken,’’ he said.
This is the second big gun fight in Kashmir in the last four days. On Sunday, two militants and a policeman were killed in south Kashmir’s Tral.
Train services suspended
Train services from Banihal to Srinagar have been suspended temporarily as authorities fear that miscreants might target the trains in south Kashmir.
Army’s director general of military operations (DGMO) Lt Gen AK Bhatia spoke to his Pakistani counterpart and conveyed India’s concerns over movement of terrorists along the line of control in the border state.
“The DGMO spoke to the Pakistan army DGMO this morning. He expressed concern regarding the movement of terrorists noticed along the line of control (LoC),” army sources said.
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