Two militants of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit were killed while four soldiers were injured in a fierce gun battle between security forces and ultras in Nowgam area on the outskirts of Srinagar city on Friday morning.
A police spokesperson said based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Sutsoo Kalan area of Chattergam, a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) was launched by the army and police during wee hours.
“As the searches were going on, militants fired upon which was retaliated by the forces leading to a gunfight. In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed while army personnel were injured,” he said and added the slain ultras were affiliated with the Jaish.
Security forces have recovered M4 and an INSAS rifle from the possession of the slain militants. The authorities also suspended 4G Internet services in Srinagar and Budgam districts, a common government practice, aimed to calm tensions and prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organized.
The latest encounter came just a day after security forces killed four militants in two separate gunfights in Kashmir. While three militants of a joint group of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba were killed in south Kashmir’s Shopian, the fourth militant was killed in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Since February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in southern Pulwama district, 30 militants, including 20 from the Jaish, have been killed in 14 encounters across the valley. Since the beginning of this year, 59 militants and 57 security forces personnel – 43 CRPF personnel including those in the Pulwama attack, eight army men and six police personnel – have been killed. 12 civilians have also lost their lives in various militancy-related incidents.
In 2018, over 250 militants were killed in Kashmir which was the highest in a decade while 217 ultras were killed in 2017. Last year as many as 191 local youths reportedly joined various militant outfits in Kashmir which was 65 more than 2017. The new recruits mostly hailed from the restive south Kashmir region.
However, the Army maintains that recruitment of local youth into militancy has seen a decline in Kashmir during the recent months.