Two suspected militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces in the Cheedar area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, the state police said on Sunday. One of the suspected militants surrendered and handed over his weapons.

One of the men killed was Shakur Dar, a divisional commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, while the other was a Pakistani named Haider, the police said.

A civilian was also killed as anti-government protestors clashed with the security forces at the encounter site, Greater Kashmir reported. The security forces allegedly fired live ammunition, tear gas shells and pellets, injuring more than a dozen people. Yawar Ahmad Dar, a resident of Gassipora, was critically wounded and was taken to the district hospital in Anantnag, where he was declared dead. The police, however, claimed that Dar was caught in the cross fire.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Army, the police and the Central Reserve Police Force launched the search operation in Chedar Ban after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area, Greater Kashmir reported.

“The security forces were carrying out a highway clearance operation for the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra when they were fired at by the hidden militants,” IANS quoted an unidentified police officer as saying.

As the forces approached, the suspected militants fired at them from the house they were in, said an Army spokesperson. Internet services in Kulgam district were suspended as the gunfight began, reported ANI.

In a statement, the Army said the suspected militant who had surrendered was a local youth who had recently joined the militants. “It is once again reiterated that all local terrorists will be given an opportunity to surrender during [operations],” it added.

This gunfight came two days after four militants and a police officer were killed in a gunfight in Anantnag district. A youngster – Shahid Nazir Hajam of Sirhama village – who was critically injured in clashes with the security forces succumbed to his wounds on Sunday.