A constable was killed during an exchange of fire between police and militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Sunday morning, PTI reported. The constable was identified as Zahir Abbas of the special operations group.

Two militants escaped during the encounter, despite a police cordon, Bandipora Superintendent of Police Sheikh Zulfikar told the Hindustan Times.

Local residents began pelting stones at security forces after the firing between the police and the militants stopped, which helped the militants escape, according to the Greater Kashmir.

The gunbattle began after the security forces cordoned off Mir Mohalla village in Hajin town after receiving intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in the area. The police said the militants fired at security personnel during the search operation.

This is the first gun battle in the Valley after the Centre, on October 23, named former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma the interlocutor to start a dialogue process on the Kashmir conflict.

On October 11, two Air Force personnel and two militants were killed in an exchange of fire in Bandipora.

Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of the story erroneously said that two militants were killed in the encounter.