Three militants, solider, civilian killed in encounters

File photo for representation.

Three militants, including an engineering-graduate-turned-Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander, a soldier and a civilian were killed in separate gun battles between militants and security forces across Kashmir on Thursday.

In Doru area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district LeT commander Asif Malik alias Abu Ukasha of Khahgund, Verinag and a soldier were killed in a fierce gun battle which erupted early Thursday morning, reports said. The slain militant was reportedly an engineering graduate while the slain soldier was identified as Happy Singh of 19 Rashtriya Rifles (RR).

Sources said the gunfight broke out after security forces ambushed a militant group in Gasigund village of the district. “LeT commander of Pakistani origin Naveed Jaat alias Hanzla, who had been trapped during the encounter, managed to escape from the encounter site,” they said.

Naveed Jatt made a dramatic escape from jail in February this year after he shot dead two policemen who had brought him to a hospital for health check-up in Srinagar. Additional Director General Police (ADGP) Munir Ahmad Khan said they believe Naveed received bullet injuries while fleeing from the encounter site. “A search operation is underway in the area,” he said.

In a separate incident a civilian was killed after security forces opened fire during a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) in Noorbagh area of Qamarwari in old city Srinagar. A police official said the security forces launched a CASO in the area at around 5 a.m following inputs about presence of militants in a house belonging to one Yaqoob Malik.

He said gunshots were fired during the CASO in which the house owner's son Saleem Malik suffered a bullet injury and died. Immediately after the incident, restrictions were imposed in old city areas to thwart protests against the civilian killing.

Internet services were also suspended in Srinagar and adjoining Budgam district, where another gunfight between the militants and the security forces broke out early Thursday morning. Two militants were killed in the gun battle in Panzan village of Budgam which lasted for several hours.

SSP Budgam Tejinder Singh said searches are underway at the site of the gunfight as bodies of the slain militants have been recovered. He said the identity of the slain militants is being established. Sources said that both the slain militants are believed to be local residents.

Earlier, the police said the militants took shelter in a religious place after they fled from a house where they had been hiding. State police chief Dilbag Singh said they were taking precautions to ensure there is no damage to the religious place “and at the same time the terrorists are neutralized.”

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