Six persons, including a soldier and three militants of Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) were killed on Thursday in four anti-terror operations in Kashmir.
Security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Gazigund area of Anantnag district in the early hours Thursday on a tip off about presence of militants in the area, a police spokesperson said.
“During searches, a gunfight began between security forces and terrorists. In the encounter, a local terrorist identified as Asif Malik who was operating as a commander of proscribed terror outfit LeT was eliminated,” he said.
An Army jawan, identified as Happy Singh of 19 Rashtriya Rifles, too was killed in the encounter, he added.
The spokespersons said Malik was involved in several attacks on security forces, including the killings of CRPF men at Achabal this year and in several other cases of atrocity against civilian.
The forces also recovered various incriminating material including several arms and ammunition from the encounter site, he added.
In another encounter at Panzan in Budgam district, security Forces “neutralised” two militants, he said.
The slain militants were identified as Sheeraz Ahmad Bhat and Irfan Ahmad Dar of terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.
“Dar was working as an SPO before deserting the police force a couple of months ago,” he said.
The spokesman said the militants fired on a search party from a mosque, prompting the security personnel to cordon off the area.
“The local Auqaf Committee was engaged to convince the hiding terrorists to come out. Security forces too appealed the terrorists to come out,” said the police spokesperson.
But they turned down the offer, forcing the security personnel to launch the operation.
The forces carried out the operation “very cautiously”, ensuring that the sanctity of the mosque is not breached, he said.
In this operation, an Army jawan too sustained bullet injuries and was evacuated to hospital, he added.
Another encounter broke out between security forces and terrorists in Noorbagh on the outskirts of Srinagar city early in the morning.
Acting on a “credible input” about the presence of militants in the area, security forces cordoned off a cluster of houses and challenged the militants.
“The hiding terrorists began firing indiscriminately, resulting in death of an individual identified as Saleem Malik,” he said.
The local residents, however, alleged Malik was killed in unprovoked firing by security forces and took to streets in protests, leading to clashes.
At least eight persons were injured in the ensuing police action against the protestors.
Meanwhile, the separatists called for a day-long strike on Friday to protest against the killing.
In yet another incident, an unidentified civilian was allegedly killed in an Army firing in Kupwara district during an ambush with militants, official sources said.
The Army had laid an ambush at Syedan Pathra in Kralpora area of Kupwara last night following information about movement of militants through that area, the sources said.
The soldiers opened fire upon noticing some suspicious movement in the area, they said, adding the body of an unidentified male was recovered later from the spot.
The body has been kept at Kupwara district hospital for identification and other legal proceedings, the sources added.
The Army and defence officials did not respond to calls to seek their comment on the incident.