Gunfight in Kashmir
Government forces lay siege during a gunfight in Kashmir (Photo Credit: Reshi Irshad)

PULWAMA — As many as eight militants have been killed in two separate gunfights during the last 24 hours in southern Kashmir’s Pulwama and Shopian districts.

As per reports reaching here, five militants have been killed in a gunbattle between militants and government forces in Bandpawa area of Chitragam Tehsil in Shopian.

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An official, however, said, “The operation is underway as more militants might be hiding in the area. The exchange of fire has stopped but searches are still going on.”

Meanwhile, four bodies of slain militants have been recovered while the hunt to search the fifth body continues.

In Meej Pampore area of Pulwama, three militants are claimed to have been killed.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone said that all three militants have been killed in Meej Pampore. In a tweet by Kashmir Zone Police (@KashmirPolice), it said, “#MeejPamporeEncounterUpdate: #Patience & #professionalism worked. No use of firing & IED. Used tear smoke shells only. Maintained #sanctity of the #mosque. Both #terrorists hiding inside mosque neutralised: IGP Kashmir. @JmuKmrPolice.”

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Sources said that three militants killed in Pampore are affiliated with Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) while in Shopian, five militants killed were associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). However, a police official said identities of slain militants are being ascertained.

“The operations by security forces rendered a severe dent to militant groups such as the Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Muhammad and the Lashkar-e-Taiba,” officials said here.

Earlier, police had said that two encounters were going on in Meej Pampore (Awantipora) and Bandpawa Shopian.

In a statement, Police had said that on specific inputs regarding presence of militants, two joint cordon and search operations were launched by Police and security forces in Awantipora and Shopian.

Awantipora Police along with 50RR and 140Bn CRPF launched a joint cordon and search operation in Meej Pampore area while as another joint CASO was carried out in Bandpawa Munand by Shopian Police, 44RR and 178Bn CRPF.

“During the search operations in the said areas, the hiding militants fired on the joint search parties. The fire was retaliated, leading to encounters at both places,” the police statement had maintained.

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Meanwhile, mobile Internet has been suspended in Shopian while as both calling facilities and mobile Internet stands snapped in Pulwama for precautionary measures.

It is pertinent to mention here that south Kashmir, especially Shopian district has been witnessing frequent gunfights between different outfits of militants and government forces.

As per details, a total of 22 militants, including some commanders, have been killed in just Shopian district this month. In the past two weeks, 32 militants have been killed in two southern districts of Shopian and Pulwama.

Figures also suggest that 72 militants, including today’s figures, were killed since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Kashmir on March 20.

This year, 102 militants including top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba have been killed so far. Among the slain include Reyaz Naikoo, the chief operational commander of Hizb, Bashir Koka of Lashkar and Abdur Rehman alias Fouji Bhai of Pakistan, who was an IED expert of Jaish.

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