Two HizbulMujahideen militants were killed in 14-hours long gunfight with forces in a village in south Kashmir's Shopian district on Friday.
A police official said Army's Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF and Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) in Gadapora village in Imam sahib area of Shopian in wee hours of Friday after receiving credible inputs about presence of militants there.
He said as forces initiated house to house searches, militants who were hiding in a residential house fired up on the search party.
"The fire was returned by troops, triggering an encounter. In the ensuing gunfight two militants were killed," the official said.
He said one militant was killed in the initial gunfight while the second militant kept changing his location before being killed.
The deceased militants were identified as SPO turned-militant Showket Ahmad Sheikh of HarmainShopian and a recently recruited militant, Yasir Ahmad Shah of ArhamaShopian.
Both were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahedeen.
Showket had joined militant ranks on August 25, 2018 after he fled with a rifle from police station Shopian. Yasir was missing from March 12, 2019.
Local residents said they heard sound gunshots at around 3am on Friday.
The gunshots continued for about half an hour after which there was a lull and guns roared again at around 7.40 am.
"The intermittent firing continued till evening," the residents said.
They said nine structures including six residential houses were damaged in the encounter after these structures caught fire.
"Some cattle including 4 cows and 4 calves were charred to death," the residents said.
The clashes erupted between youth and forces around the site of gunfight. Youth pelted stones on forces, who retaliated by firing teargas smoke shells, pellets and live ammunition on protestors.
Many youth were injured in the clashes and shifted to primary health centre Harmain, Primary health centre Vehil and district hospital Shopian.
Health authorities in Shopian said they received around 51 injured at different health facilities.
They said about45 injured were brought to PHC Harmain, PHC Vehil and other health facilities in Shopian block out of which 7 having pellet injuries in eye were referred to district hospital Shopian.
Doctors at Shopian said that they received 13 injured youth including 7 referred from Harmain and Vehil. Of the 13 injured, 10 including a fire arm injury case were referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment.
A police head constable was injured in clashes after a stone hit him in head. He was shifted to Srinagar for specialized treatment.
Stray incidents of stone pelting were reported from main town Pulwama and Newa area of Pulwama.
Authorities snapped mobile internet in Shopian after the start of encounter.