Three army personnel have been killed and a militant gunned down in a gunbattle in South Kashmir on Friday.
The encounter took place at Buchu Tral in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district when the army and the police had cordoned off a village during a combing operation to hunt down the militants who were hiding there.
However, the militants somehow dodged the cordon and attacked the security personnel from behind.
“Acting on a tip off, the army’s 3 RR personnel were busy cordoning Harde Buchoo village in Tral Tehsil when they came under attack from militants. The militants were hiding in the nearby forest. The attack sudden and three jawans were killed on the spot,” said Lt Col Ankur Vashist.
“The operation is going on and we will have to wait for the final confirmation,” inspector general of police Abdul Gani Mir told Hindustan Times.
A police officer of Pulwama said that it was unclear whether the militants had been cornered or they had managed to escape into the forests. The militants engaged in the gunfight could be locals, sources said.
On Thursday, a Lashkar-e-Toiba commander, Hilal Molvi, was killed in an encounter with security forces in Old Srinagar. Three police officials – one sub inspector and two constables – were injured in the gunfight.
The shootout started in the early hours on Thursday after police surrounded a residential house in the densely populated area on receiving specific information about the militant’s presence there. Hilal Molvi belonged to Palhalan (Pattan) town of Baramulla district and had been active since last five years. Molvi was wanted in connection with killings of several civilians in Pattan and Sopore area of North Kashmir.
Should armed forces act go?
The presence of an LeT militant in Srinagar comes at a time when the state government has again raised its demand for partial revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Srinagar city and some other places.
AFSPA gives sweeping powers to the army and the paramilitary forces operating in militancy-affected areas, but the local police do not enjoy any immunity under the act.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah has been advocating the partial revocation of the act, maintaining that security responsibilities in cities and towns can now be taken over by the local police with the assistance of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).