3 militants killed in Budgam gunfight

Security agencies say it was a ‘difficult’ operation due to tough terrain, inclement weather; Identity, affiliation of slain militants being ascertained: Police

Abid Bashir
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 21 2019 11:53PM | Updated Date: Jan 22 2019 1:41AM
3 militants killed in Budgam gunfightGK Photo

Three militants were killed in a gunfight with forces in Hapatnar forests of Charar-e-Sharief area in Budgam district on Monday, the police said.

Acting on a “specific intelligence input” about the presence of a group of militants in the dense forests of Hapatnar, the joint teams of the police, army and the Central Reserve Police Force cordoned off the area in the morning, a senior police officer said.

“As the forces zeroed in on the suspected house, the militants fired indiscriminately at the forces, triggering a fierce gunfight,” he said. The officer said given the tough terrain and the dense forest cover, militants kept on changing their positions.

“Due to continuous snow, rainfall and the tough terrain, forces decided to go slow to avoid any collateral damage,” he said.

“In the initial exchange of fire, one militant was killed while the other two kept on firing at the forces from different directions. The forces strengthened various layers of cordon to ensure that no militant manages to escape,” the officer said.

A source in the police said that throughout the day, intermittent firing continued between the militants and the forces. 

“At around 5 pm, forces launched the final assault and within half-an-hour, the remaining two militants were killed,” he said.

Deputy inspector general of police for central Kashmir range, V K Birdhi confirmed the killing of three militants.

“The encounter is over and bodies of three militants have been retrieved and are being identified,” he said.

The source in the police said that the slain militants “seem to be all locals” affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen outfit.

“One of the slain is reportedly Shahid Baba of Drabgam, Pulwama, while the identity of two other militants is yet to be ascertained,” he said.

The killing of Baba, however, could not be independently confirmed.

Inspector general of CRPF Ravideep Singh Sahi said the operation was a difficult one “given the tough terrain, dense forest cover and the inclement weather conditions”.

“All the three militants have been killed in a clean operation. Their identities are being ascertained,” he said.

Army’s Srinagar-based spokesman colonel Rajesh Kalia while confirming the killing of three militants said the “operation was underway.”

The authorities had snapped the internet services in entire Budgam district to ensure “there is no law and order problem”, an official said.

In a statement issued late in the evening, a police spokesman said in the Budgam gunfight three militants were killed whose “identities and affiliations are being ascertained”.

“Police have registered a case and initiated an investigation in the matter. Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of the encounter,” the statement read, adding: Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitised and cleared of explosives materials if any”.

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