5 suspected militants killed, in 10 hour long gun battle in South Kashmir

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Srinagar: Five suspected militants were killed, while 16 others including four security forces personnel were injured in a clean operation in Kulgam district of southern Kashmir as violent protests rocked the area.

The militants were killed after Special Operation (SOG) of J&K Police, Army’s 9 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and CRPF cordoned off Kellam Devsar area in Kulgam district Sunday.

One of the senior police officers said that operation started at 2 am and ended by 12 noon. He said that operation was launched after they got specific inputs about the presence of the militants in the areas. “We cordoned off the area and started searches,” he said adding that the joint search party of SOG and RR came under heavy gunfire from hiding militants. “The fire was exchanged and five militants have been killed and their identity is being ascertained.”

A senior police officer said four CRPF personnel have sustained injuries during the operation. “The injuries are minor and mostly related to maintaining law and order,” he said. “There is no collateral damage and operation is clean.”

Soon after first encounter hundreds of people assembled at encounter site and clashed with CRPF and police. In retaliatory action by the security forces about a dozen people were injured, among them nine have received pellets, said a health official.

The clashes erupted in the area despite the fact that authorities have suspended the internet services in Kulgam district so that news did not spread.

Senior police officers are on the spot to monitor the situation in Kulgam that is volatile.

According to some reports one among the slain militant was Ph D scholar, however police media center officials said that they are ascertaining their identity. “Nothing can be said till identification is not carried out,” they said.

The encounter assumes significance as there was baton change at Army’s Srinagar based 15 corps and reins were handed over to Lt General K J S Dhillion. He said one of old hands who has dealt Kashmir insurgency. He has commanded a RR brigade besides being Brigadier General Staff at 15 corps.

The encounter took place after a nine day gap. Earlier on February 1, two more suspected militant were killed in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district of Southern Kashmir.

Here it needs to be mentioned here that total 256 militants were killed in 2018.

Yesterday, in several parts of Kashmir shops were shut down to observe the 6th year of Afzal Guru’s hanging.

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