J&K: Five militants killed in Shopian encounter

J&K: Five militants killed in Shopian encounter

Civilian killed in subsequent clashes with security forces

Five militants of Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit were killed in an overnight gun battle between security forces and ultras in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Saturday.

A civilian protester was also killed while over a dozen others were injured in the clashes that erupted near the gunfight site as hundreds of protesters threw stones at the security forces to help the militants break the cordon.

The gunfight broke out late Friday evening after a joint team of army and police launched a cordon-and-search operation (CASO) at Kilora, Shopian, 56 kms from here, following specific information about the presence of militants in the area, reports said.

While one militant was killed in the initial exchange of firing on Friday night, army recovered bodies of four more ultras Friday morning taking the toll to five. “4 more bodies of terrorists visible at encounter site Kiloora Shopian taking the total to 5 terrorists killed. Good Job boys, good for peace (sic),” state police chief Shesh Pal Vaid tweeted.

He said the militants are “learnt to be part of Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit”. An army spokesman said that weapons were also recovered from the encounter site and the operation is going on.

One of the slain militant, whose body was recovered last evening, has been identified as Umar Malik of Le, he said. The identity of other slain militants was not immediately known, but apparently, they belong to LeT.

Reports said as the news about the encounter spread in the area intense clashes broke out between stone pelters and security forces in which over a dozen protesters were injured. One of them succumbed to his injuries at a hospital later, reports added.

Following the killings, authorities ordered the suspension of Internet services in Shopian “as a precautionary measure” to prevent protests.

There has been a spurt in gun battles between security forces and militants this week. The latest gun battle comes hours after two militants, including a B. Tech student-turned-ultra, and an army soldier were killed in an encounter in Sopore area of north Kashmir on Friday.

On Thursday, two militants of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit were killed in an encounter after they fired upon security forces in northern Kupwara district. An INSAS rifle, snatched earlier this week from a policeman in the same district was recovered from them, police said.

The engineering student, who had joined the militancy just 48-hours before he was killed in Sopore, according to his family, had ambition of becoming a Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) officer and had left his home on Tuesday morning to apply for the exam. He also had applied for a sub-inspector’s job with J&K police and had also cleared the physical fitness test, they said.

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