Two soldiers, militant killed in Kashmir’s Pulwama

An encounter broke out between militants and security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, police said. PTI file photo

Two soldiers, including a para-commando, and a militant were killed, and another soldier injured in a fierce gunfight between security forces and ultras in Ratnipora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday.
 
The gunfight erupted during wee hours after a joint team of army's 50 Rashtriya Rifles, 10 PARA, J&K police and para-military CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation in Ratnipora, 35 km from here, following ‘specific inputs’ about the presence of two to four militants, a police officer said.
 
“As the searches were going on, militants opened indiscriminate fire on security men in which three soldiers suffered fatal injuries. They were immediately evacuated to army's 92 base hospital in Badamibagh Srinagar where two of them succumbed,” he said.
 
The slain soldiers were identified as sepoy Baljeet Singh and Naik Saneed of 10 PARA while the injured was identified as Hawaldar Chander Pal.
 
The officer said one militant of Hizbul-Mujahideen outfit was killed in the retaliatory action by the security forces. The slain ultra was identified as Hilal Ahmad of Begumbagh Pulwama. 
 
Sources said two to three militants managed to escape from the cordon. “Body of only one militant was recovered from the encounter site while there was credible inputs of more militants hiding in the area. They might have escaped,” they said.
 
Earlier, intense clashes erupted after the youth took to streets and pelted the forces with stones to disrupt the anti-militant operation. The forces lobbed tear gas shells to disperse them.
 
The latest encounter comes just two-days after four militants, including a Ph. D scholar, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Kellam area of neighbouring Kulgam district on Sunday.
 
Like last year, this year too security forces have been carrying out anti-militancy operations relentlessly and nearly 20 ultras were killed in January. 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, Army maintains that recruitment of local youth into militancy has seen a decline in Kashmir during the recent months.

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Two soldiers, militant killed in Kashmir’s Pulwama

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