3 Jaish militants, Major, 3 army men, policeman, civilian among dead
DIG, Brigadier, Lt Col among 10 force personnel injured
Three Jaish-e-Mohammad militants, four army men including a Major, a policeman and a civilian were killed in 18-hour long gunfight in Pinglina village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday.
DIG south Kashmir, an army brigadier, Lt Colonel are among 10 security men injured in the fierce gunfight.
A police official said joint forces comprising army's 55 RashtriyaRifles, CRPF 182 and 183 bn and Special Operations Group of J&K police launched a cordon and search operation in Pinglina village of Pulwama on Sunday night after receiving credible inputs about presence of some militants in the area.
He said as the searches were going on and troops approached a particular house, militants hiding their fired from automatic weapons towards them.
"The fire was returned by the troops and in the initial exchange of fire, five army men and a civilian sustained critical gunshot wounds,” the official said.
The injured army men were evacuated to 92 base hospital in Srinagar, where four of them succumbed to injuries.
Police said the injured civilian too succumbed to injuries in the hospital.
The deceased army men were identified as Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, HawaldarSheo Ram, SepoyHari Singh and Sepoy Ajay Kumar.
The deceased civilian was identified as Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat son of Mohammad Sultan Bhat of PinglinaPulwama.
Bhat was said to be a shopkeeper selling poultry birds. He is father of two kids and owner of the house, where from militants fired on the troops.
In the ensuing gunfight, two militants were killed.
The official said third militant was changing position and engaged forces in the gunfight till evening when he was eventually killed.
"Five army men including Brigadier 12 sector RR Balapora, Harbir Singh and Lieutenant Colonel Rahul Gupta, DIG South Kashmir,Amit Kumar and three policemen were also injured in the gunfight," he said.
The official said head constable of SOG Abdul Rashid Kalassuccumbed to injuries.
The other injured police man identified as sub-inspector Azad Ahmad has been hit by bullet in head.
“Brigadier HarbirSingh has a bullet injury in leg. Lt Col Gupta was hit by bullet in shoulder and AmitKumarin leg,” the official said.
He said the injured were shifted to army hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment.
Four houses, one kitchen and two cowsheds were also damaged in the gunfight.
Police identified two of the deceased militants as Hilal Ahmad Naiko son Ghulam Mohammad Naiko of Pinglina andKamran, a Pakistani commander of Jaish.
Hilal had joined militant ranks on May 27, 2018.
Police suspect that the third deceased militant in Ghazi Bhai alias Ghazi Umar, a Pakistan militant.
“Kamranwas active in Pulwama since 2017 and was operational commander of JeM. He had replaced Mufti Waqas, who was killed last year. He was also close associate of slain Jaish commander Noor Mohammad Trali,” a police official said.
He said they were ascertaining his role in Lethpora suicide attack on CRPF convoy in which 40 CRPF men were killed.
Clashes erupted near the site of gunfight after the encounter started.
Some youth took to roads and pelted stones on forces, who retailed by firing teargas smoke shells and pellets to chase them away.
Locals said a youth received pellet injuries in face in forces firing.
The mobile internet service was snapped in Pulwama since wee hours of Monday.