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Two terrorists, one civilian killed in Kashmir encounter

SP Sharma | Jammu |

Two terrorists and a stone pelting civilian were killed on Thursday during an encounter with security forces in the Padgampora village in the Pulwama district of South Kashmir.

This is the first civilian killing following warning of Army Chief Bipin Rawat to the civilians not to indulge in stone pelting on security forces during an encounter as the terrorists could escape in such situation.

Deputy Commissioner of Pulwama, Muneer-ul-Islam, told the SNS over the telephone that the civilian identified as Aamir Nazir did not belong to the village where the encounter was in progress and had come from the Begum Bagh village about 4 kms away probably with a mob to pelt stones at the security forces and distract their attention from the terrorists.

The DC said that the encounter has been called off but cordon of the village has not been lifted so far as search operations in the area were continuing.

The Northern Command of the army confirmed that two terrorists have been killed in the encounter.

The police said in the evening that the two killed terrorists were involved in the recent bank robberies and hurling grenades at security personnel.

These terrorists were also wanted in cases of snatching rifles of policemen.

They were motivating the youth in South Kashmir to join militancy and were also threatening people to keep away from the Mom Sabha and pancetta elections, police said.

One of the slain terrorist has been identified as Jehangir Ganai who was a top commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) who was operating in South Kashmir and the Doda and Kishtwar districts of Jammu.

Three of his accomplices, including a teacher, were yesterday arrested by the police and large quantity of arms and ammunition recovered from them. The other terrorist has been identified as Shaffi Sher Gujri.

The 15-year-old civilian Aamir, who was a student of 9th class, got killed as the police fired at a mob that was pelting stones and other missiles at the security forces although restrictions under the Section 144 CR.PC. prohibiting assembly of people were promulgated in the area.

Two other civilians are also reported to have been injured in the police action. One person received bullet injury on his leg and was stated out of danger.

Residents of the surrounding villages descended at the place of encounter where the army, CRPF and the J&K police had laid a cordon to nab the terrorists last night.

They started pelting stones from all sides while the security forces zeroed in on the house from where the terrorists were firing at them as such the police had no alternative but to open fire at the surging crowd.

Reports said that Ganai was killed in the initial bout of gunfight, while the police called Gujri’s wife and mother to the encounter site in an attempt to make him surrender. However, the effort failed and the terrorist kept firing at the security forces.

Train services from Banihal to the valley remained suspended as a precautionary measure.

Reacting to the killing of Aamir during clashes, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the warning of Indian army chief Bipin Rawat has been put to action.

Earlier on Sunday, the security forces had killed two terrorists in an encounter at Tral. A policeman also lost his life in the encounter.