Four suspected militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway near Nagrota on Thursday morning, The Indian Express reported, quoting the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
Two personnel of the police’s Special Operation Group were also injured in the gunfight.
Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told the newspaper that the suspected militants were carrying a “huge quantity” of arms and ammunition, and were on their way to Kashmir to disrupt the upcoming District Development Council polls and panchayat bye-elections. This is the first electoral exercise to take place in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 last year, when the Centre had ended the region’s special status under Article 370.
The gunfight reportedly began when the suspected militants, hiding in a truck, threw a grenade on security personnel during checking at a toll plaza around 5 am. Personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force deployed at Ban Toll Plaza retaliated and killed two militants when they were trying to jump out of the truck to take position, the police said.
Unidentified police officials told the Hindustan Times that the police had stopped the truck carrying the suspected militants at the toll plaza after receiving intelligence inputs.
“In the exchange of fire four terrorists were eliminated,” Inspector General of Police, Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh told the newspaper. “Terrorists lobbed grenades on security forces during checking. The truck also caught fire and a few grenades also exploded inside it during the exchanges.”
Two personnel of Special Operation Group of Jammu Kashmir Police, identified as Kuldeep Raj and Mohammad Ishaq Malik, were injured in the gun fight. Both have been admitted to the Government Medical College, Jammu, and are reportedly in a stable condition.
However, the truck driver managed to flee the spot, said Inspector General Singh. He added that the police recovered 11 AK-47 rifles, three pistols, 29 grenades and other devices.
Singh later said at a press briefing that the police had been receiving inputs about possible infiltrations, since the process for the District Development Council election began. He described how the security forces were attacked while searching the truck.
“The encounter continued for three hours, during which heavy ammunition was fired at security forces,” Singh said. “Two constables were injured. The militants were apparently looking to execute a big plan.” He, however, said the militants’ affiliation was not established yet.
The gunfight took place hours after at least 12 civilians were injured in a grenade attack as suspected militants attempted to target security forces in Kakapora area of Pulwama district on Wednesday. The grenade reportedly missed the intended target and exploded on a street.
On November 10, security forces killed two suspected militants in a gunfight in Shopian district in Jammu and Kashmir. Three soldiers, one Border Security Force officer, and three suspected militants were killed during a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district on November 8.