Security forces in Jammu and Kashmir killed five suspected militants during an encounter in Kulgam’s Chowgam on Saturday, the state police said. Inspector General of Police SP Pani said a search operation is under way.
The police said the deceased were Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives who were responsible for a series of terror attacks, including the murder of two bank employees and police personnel, bank robberies and the looting of weapons.
The deceased were identified as Gulzar Ahmad Padder, Faisal Ahmad Rather, Zahid Ahmad Mir, Mansoor Molvi and Zahoor Ahmad Lone.
“Padder was a close associate of late Hizbul Mujahideen commander Altaf Kachroo, and was involved in a several terror attacks including the killing of five police personnel and two bank employees, bank robberies and weapon snatching cases,” the police statement said. Zahid was wanted for his alleged role in the killing of police official Fayaz Ahmad of Zainapora, while Rather was accused of killing Gowhar Ahmad Bhat in Shopian. Lone and Molvi were allegedly involved in several terror-related offences. The police also recovered arms and ammunition.
A civilian was killed and 10 others injured as protestors clashed with security forces at Qazigund in Kulgam after the encounter, reported PTI. Security forces used tear smoke shells, pellets, and gunfire to bring the protests under control, said a police official.
The injured were taken to Anantnag district hospital and six of them were referred to a hospital in Srinagar, said the police official. Rouf Ahmad, a resident of Chee in Anantnag, succumbed to injuries on the way.
The state police took to Twitter to describe the operation as a “huge success for the police and security forces”. The encounter had started after militants opened fire on security personnel while they were conducting a cordon and search operation based on intelligence inputs in the area. The security force personnel retaliated soon after.
Earlier on Saturday, police said train services between Baramulla and Qazigund have been temporarily suspended.
On Thursday, security officials shot dead two suspected militants during an encounter in Sopore and three in an encounter in Reasi district’s Kakriyal.
The Kakriyal encounter followed a search operation in the Jhajjar Kotli area along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway from where the suspected militants fled the day before. They escaped after shooting at police personnel who had intercepted the truck they were travelling in. Eight security officials were injured during the attack.