Major and 3 soldiers killed in Kashmir encounters

Major and 3 soldiers killed in Kashmir encounters
Four militants and equal number of soldiers, including an army major, were killed, while 11 security personnel were injured in two separate encounters in Kashmir on Tuesday.

In the first encounter, a top commander of Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) and three soldiers were killed, while 11 security forces personnel and a civilian were injured in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

Sources said, based on specific intelligence about the presence of a group of four LeT militants at Parray Mohalla in Hajin, 32 km from here, a joint operation was launched by the army, CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir Police early on Tuesday.

As the security forces were laying a cordon around the village, they came under heavy fire from the hiding militants in which 15 security personnel, including Major Thappa of 13 Rashtriya Rifles and Commandant Chetan Cheetah of 45 Battalion CRPF were injured, sources said, adding that in retaliatory action, one militant was neutralised.

The police said the injured soldiers were airlifted to the army’s 92-Base Hospital in Srinagar where three of them succumbed. The condition of injured CRPF commandant is stated to be critical.

PRO Defence Rajesh Kalia said the operation has been terminated. Sources told DH that three militants managed to escape from the encounter site. The slain militant has been identified as Abu Harris from Pakistan, a top LeT commander.

Second encounter

Three militants and an army major were killed in north Kashmir’s Kralgund village of Handwara area in Kupwara district on Tuesday evening.

A defence spokesperson said based on a specific information about the presence of militants, the army’s 30-Rashtriya Rifles and the special operations group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police cordoned the area. “As the security forces were searching the area, militants opened fire in which an army major was injured. In retaliatory fire, three terrorists were neutralised,” he said, adding that Major S Dhaiya, who was leading the operation, succumbed to his injuries later in the evening.

These encounters came just two days after four local militants of Hizbul Mujahideen were killed by security forces in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. Two army personnel and a civilian also lost their lives in that encounter, while one more civilian was killed in subsequent stone pelting.

Such mobs thronging the encounter sites allow militants to flee, posing a huge challenge for the security forces since the last one year. Despite an advisory by the police, asking people to stay indoors at the time of an encounter between militants and security forces, people come out on to the streets and attack forces, which is seen as a diversionary tactic to help the besieged militants.
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