2 LeT militants, 2 civilians killed in Pulwama encounter

2 LeT militants, 2 civilians killed in Pulwama encounter

Two local Lashkar-e-Toiba militants and an equal number of civilians, including a teenager, were killed during an encounter and ensuing clashes in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday.

More than 20 people were injured in the incidents. 

Police sources said based on specific inputs that militants were hiding in two adjacent houses in Padgampora, Pulwama, 35 km from here, a joint team of the army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles and Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police laid a siege around the area at 2 am.

“As a house-to-house search was on, the holed-up militants opened fire on the security forces around 5.05 am, triggering an encounter that lasted several hours,” a source said. While one of the militants, identified as Jehangir Ganai alias Ehsan, was neutralised in the initial assault by the security forces, his accomplice Shafat Shergujri alias Saif-ullah was given an offer of surrender by the police.

“However, Shergujri refused to surrender even after his wife and son were allowed to meet him and talk to him. He was ultimately killed by security forces after a fierce gunbattle,” a source said. Shergujri and Ganai, affiliated with LeT, were involved in the killing of policemen and political activists and grenade attacks in south Kashmir, police said. They were also involved in recent bank robberies and weapon-snatching incidents. Sources said Shergujri’s brother, Adil, also a militant, was killed in an encounter with security forces last February in Kakpora area of Pulwama. Fifteen-year-old Amir Nazir, who was hit by a stray bullet, and another civilian, identified as Jalal-ud-Din (23), were killed during clashes between stone pelters and security forces near the encounter site, police said.

“While Nazir was hit by a stray bullet, there was no external injury to Jalal-ud-Din’s body... he perhaps died due to a cardiac arrest,” a police official said. Following the civilian deaths, massive protests broke out across Pulwama, in which more than 20 people were injured due to bullets and pellets.

Authorities also suspended intra-Kashmir rail services from Banihal to Srinagar, apprehending that protesters might target the trains.

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