3 Hizb militants killed in Awantipora gunfight, clashes near encounter site

ESS AHMAD. Dated: 5/19/2019 10:24:45 AM

ANANTNAG, May 18: In a third encounter in the last three days in south Kashmir, three militants belonging to Hizb-ul-Mujahideen were killed by the government forces in Panzgam, Awantipora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday.
Police said one among the slain militants was involved in the killing of an army soldier Aurangzeb last year.
The gunfight, officials said, broke out Friday night after a joint team of army, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation in the village in the dead of night, installed lights and began searching the houses following credible input about the presence of militants.
"During the search operation, as the forces, an official said, advanced towards a house, militants hiding there fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter,” the official said.
He said that in the ensuing gunfight, three militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter along with arms and ammunition.
The slain trio was identified as Showkat Ahmad Dar of Panzgam Awantipora, Irfan War of Wadoora Payeen Sopore and Muzaffar Ahmad Sheikh of Tahab Pulwama.
All the slain were associated with Hizb. Showkat, according to official and local sources, was one of the longest surviving militants who had joint militant ranks four years ago.
Police said that Irfan War was part of militant groups responsible for conspiring and executing attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities in the area. Similarly, Muzaffar Sheikh, as per police records, was also involved in several attacks on security establishments in the area. Several cases were registered against him for militant activities, the police spokesman said.
Police spokesman said that Showkat Dar had a long history of crime records. "He was involved in planning and executing a series of attacks in the area and many other civilian atrocities. He was part of a group involved in the killing of Army jawan Aurangzeb. He was also involved in the killing of a policeman Aqib Ahmad Wagay last year. Several crime cases were registered against him,” the spokesman said.
After the legal formalities, the bodies of the slain trio was handed over to their respective families for last rites.
Thousands of people, local sources said, attended the funeral prayers of slain in their native villages before their burial.
Earlier in the morning as the gunfight was on, scores of youth, local sources said, assembled at a distance from the encounter site and clashed with forces by pelting them with stones. The forces responding with tearsmoke shells and pellets.
Meanwhile a complete shutdown was observed in most of the townships of south Kashmir for the third running day against the killing of militants during last three days.
Complete shutdown was observed in Anantnag township after the authorities imposed restrictions in the town following the rumors about killing of a local militant in Panzgam encounter.
Pertinently, eight militants belonging to Hizb and Jaish outfits and two civilians were killed in three encounters in the last three days in South Kashmir.



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