Four militants, civilian, SPO killed in Anantnag gunfight

Over 30 injured in clashes, three of them critical having firearm injury in head, neck

Srinagar, June 22: Four militants, a civilian and a cop were killed in a firefight at Srigufwara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Friday.

In clashes, over thirty persons suffered injuries, ten of them with bullets.

Official sources said that today morning a joint team of army, SOG and CRPF laid a cordon in Nowshera, Khiram in Srigufwara.

As the searches in the area were intensified, the militants opened fire resulted into an encounter which continued for several hours, they said.

In the initial gunfight, the house owner, identified as Muhammad Yousuf Rather (50), and his wife Hafeeza suffered bullet wounds, they said.

Both the injured were immediately taken to nearby hospital where Rather succumbed to injuries, they said.

The locals alleged that the husband and the wife suffered injuries in government forces firing. As per SOP the civilian population is to be evacuated by forces before launching any assault against militants.

Later in the exchange of gunfire, two army men and an SPO from SOG namely Ashiq Hussain received serious injuries, they said. All the injured were evacuated to a military hospital where the SPO Ashiq Hussain succumbed to injuries, they said.

In the meantime, the forces blasted the residential house and razed it into the rubble which resulted in the killing of four militants, they said.

Meanwhile, as soon as the encounter broke out hundreds of people particularly youth marched towards the encounter site, triggering off massive clashes.

The police and paramilitary forces resorted to pellets and bullet firing and used tear smoke shells. Initially, twenty persons suffered injuries and one of them Ubaid Ahmad had bullet injury in his neck and his condition was stated to be serious.

Subsequently, more than ten youth suffered fresh injuries and six of them have bullet wounds.

Hospital sources said that the condition of two among the five with bullet injuries is stated to be critical having firearm injuries in their heads. Identified as Shahid Nazir Hajam son of Nazir Ahmad Hajam and Burhan Shafi son of Mohd Shafi Bhat, they were referred to SKIMS from Sub-district hospital Bijbehara.

The other injured include Rafiqa Akther, 40, wife of Ghulam Mohd Rather of Nowshera (Trauma Right Hand Bullet Injury), Nissar Ahmad Itoo, 27, of Hatigam (Pellet injury in both legs), Gowhar Ahmad, 25, of Waghama (pellet injury in both arm), Zahid Ahmad, 24, of Waghama (Pellet injury face with left eye), Tahir Ahmad Najar, 26, of Waghama (Bullet injury left arm with fracture), Suhail Farooq, 21, of Nowshera (Bullet injury with left thigh) and Aadil Ahmad Sheikh,22, of Magraypora (Bullet injury left leg), they said.

All the injured were referred to different hospitals of Srinagar for specialized treatment, they said.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted in HMT Zainakote in Srinagar and Pulwama, the district neighbouring with Anantnag.

Police used force to quell the protesters.

Authorities have suspended the Internet service in Pulwama, Anantnag, and Srinagar in the wake of the gunfight and the militant and civilian killings. One of the slain militants is believed to be Dawood Ahmad from HMT, Srinagar.

A police spokesman in a statement issued here said that as the joint patrol made an advance towards the suspected house, militants hiding inside fired indiscriminately on the security forces due to which a policeman Ashiq Hussain and a civilian identified as Mohd Yousuf Rather of Gull Mohd Rather resident of Nowshahar Khiram, got injured and succumbed to their injuries.

“Consequently some more civilians also got injured and were shifted to hospital,” the spokesman.

“In the encounter, all the four militants were killed who have been identified as Dawood Ahmad Sofi, Majid Manzoor Dar, Aadil Rehman Bhat and Mohammad Ashraf Itoo,” the spokesman said.

Dawood Ahmad Sofi, 33, son of Mohd Subhan Sofi, of Zainakoot HMT Srinagar, was involved in a number of stone pelting cases in the area prior to joining the militant outfit. He was involved in a militant attack which resulted in the death of ASI Ghulam Mohammad and HC Naseer Ahmad at Bagh–Ali-Mardan Khan in Zadibal and also in the killing of the policeman and snatching his rifle at Tengpora Batamaloo besides other militant attacks, the spokesman said.

Majid Manzoor Dar of Talangam Pulwama also joined the militant outfit and remained active along with Aadil Rehman Bhat of Shettipora Bijbehara and Mohd Ashraf Itoo of Hatigam Srigufwara Anantnag, the spokesman said.

Initially, Dawood was known to be affiliated with TuM outfit. The outfit was active on social media and mostly attacked the policemen on duty at different places. The social media profiling and inputs indicate that they were inspired by ISIS module, the spokesman said.

Incriminating material and a huge quantity of ammunition were also seized from the site of the encounter, the spokesman said.

Police have registered a case in this regard and have initiated an investigation in the instant matter, the spokesman added. (GNS)

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