Four security personnel, including two from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and one civilian were killed in an encounter in north Kashmir’s Kupwara on Friday.
A statement from the Jammu and Kashmir Police said that the army, state police and the CRPF launched an operation in Babagund village late on Thursday night following information about the possible presence of militants in the area.
There was a lull in firing several times during the day but militants would resume firing as soon as the security forces advanced towards the house where the extremists were hiding, the police said. After one such interval, the militants opened indiscriminate fire on an advancing team of security personnel, it added.
The Jammu and Kashmir police statement identified the two dead police personnel as Naseer Ahmad Kholi and Ghulam Mustafa Barah and the two CRPF men as Inspector Pintu and Constable Vinod , using only their first names.
“In the nearby area one individual identified as Waseem Ahmad Mir also sustained bullet injury and consequently succumbed at the hospital,” the statement added. It was not immediately clear how many militants were killed as no bodies were recovered. The operation was in progress as of press time and the number of casualties was expected to rise.
State police officials said on condition of anonymity that in the middle of the encounter, one militant who was presumed to be dead rose from the rubble and started firing. That led to an unspecified number of deaths and injuries. Officers said eight security personnel were injured, but that their injuries were not serious.
Villagers living close to encounter site were asked to stay in their houses while the firing was going on. “The search operation was launched late last night and firing began in the morning. In the afternoon, there was again firing and some officials told us that forces personnel have been injured during the search operation when militant who was believed to be dead opened fire on the forces,’’ said Abdul Gaffar, a local resident who lives close to encounter site.
As the encounter was underway, clashes broke out in the village between security forces and villagers who were trying to move close to encounter site. Medical superintendent of the district hospital of Handwara, Rouf Ahmad, said a 17-year-old civilian who had a firearm injury was brought dead to hospital.
On Wednesday, a Pakistani was among two Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants killed in a firefight with security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian.
Meanwhile in Jammu, Pakistan violated a 2003 ceasefire on Friday by shelling four sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Poonch districts, leaving a woman injured, said the army. Defence officials said Pakistan troops used heavy guns to target civilian areas in Poonch.
“At about 1800 hours, Pakistan continued initiating unprovoked ceasefire violation by heavy shelling with mortars and firing of small arms along LoC in Mendhar, Balakote and Krishna Ghati Sectors,” the defence public relations officer said.
The Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively, he said. On Thursday, a woman was killed and a soldier was injured when the Pakistani Army shelled civilian areas and forward posts in six sectors along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Rajouri districts.