Lateef Tiger, a top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen group and a close associate of the slain separatist poster boy Burhan Wani, was reportedly among the three militants killed on Friday by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Police have, however, so far officially only confirmed that three militants have been killed in the encounter which has now ended.

“The identities of the slain militants will be confirmed after we recover their dead bodies,” an officer said.

A soldier of the Indian Army was injured in this joint operation carried out by the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), special operations group (SOG) of state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Clashes erupted in Anantnag, as news of Tiger’s possible elimination spread. Lateef Tiger belonged to Awantipora town of Pulwama district.

A few of the other areas in South Kashmir were also reporting clashes as news of the encounter spread despite authorities suspended mobile Internet facility in all the four south Kashmir districts.

Tiger was killed in Adkhara village of Imam Sahib area and with the end of Lateef Ahmad Dar, 11 out of 12 members of the so-called ‘Burhan Brigade’ in south Kashmir is all but over. Only of the remaining 12, Tariq Pandit was arrested by the security forces in 2016.

Police said one Army soldier was injured in the operation.

One youth has sustained pellet injury during the mob control operation by the security forces.

Meanwhile, the Handwara police on Friday arrested one Shafat Yousuf Malik along with arms and ammunition, who was missing from Jammu & Kashmir’s Kangan. He was on way to join the proscribed terror outfit HM. A case has been registered and further investigation is underway.

Shopian and Pulwama districts will vote on May 6 in the third and final phase of the three-phased polling in Anantnag Lok Sabha seat.

(With inputs from IANS)