Two terrorists were killed and five security force personnel lost their lives after an almost 60-hour-long encounter between the forces and the terrorists in Jammu-Kashmir’s Handwara on Sunday. A civilian, too, lost his life in the encounter.
The encounter which began on Friday night at Babagund entered its third day today. Among the five personnel who lost their lives were three troopers from the CRPF.
While two of the CRPF jawans lost their lives on Friday, the third reportedly succumbed to his injuries on Sunday. The other two jawans were from the Jammu-Kashmir police.
“Two terrorists were killed. The gunfight has now stopped but search operations are ongoing,” Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.
The identities of the slain terrorists were yet to be ascertained.
“Operation is almost over and the final search is on. We have recovered two bodies of terrorists and their identities being ascertained. The reason for prolonged operation is tough terrain along with heavy civilian population,” IGP Kashmir SP Pani told ANI.
A commandant of CRPF and seven other security personnel besides some civilians were injured in the encounter.
Handwara is in Kupwara district. The gunfight started on Friday after security forces cordoned the area following information of the presence of terrorists.
As the operation got prolonged, the administration reportedly deployed special forces to flush out the terrorists hiding in some of the houses at the encounter spot.
Four of the security force personnel were killed on Friday. A militant who was presumed to be dead suddenly emerged from the debris of a house and fired indiscriminately at the security forces killing one of the troopers.
The incident happened when a joint search team of Army, police and CRPF went to retrieve the bodies of terrorists amid a lull.
The civilian was killed when protesters clashed with the security forces to disrupt the operation.
The encounter broke out during midnight after the joint team of Army’s 22 RR, 92 CRPF and SOG launched a cordon-and-search operation at Khanan Babagund at Langate.
According to some reports, two houses and two cowsheds were destroyed by the security forces as the hiding militants kept on changing positions at the site of the gunfight.
Meanwhile, Pakistan continued to violate ceasefire at the LoC. Two minor children along with their mother were killed as mortars fired by Pakistan troops in the wee hours on Saturday exploded in their house in the Salotri village of Poonch district of Jammu.
Two Army personnel, including a Major rank officer were injured as Pakistan troops also targeted an Indian Army post at Jallas. They have been shifted to the military hospital.
Army spokesman, Lt. Colonel Devender Anand, said that Pakistan troops continued with “nefarious designes” and at about 12.30 pm again initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by shelling with mortars and firing of small arms along LoC in Nowshera Sector of Rajouri district.