Elite commando, 4 militants killed in Handwara encounterArmy personnel inspect arms and ammunition recovered after an encounter in Kupwara district of Kashmir on Thursday. PTI

Elite commando, 4 militants killed in Handwara encounter

Police say slain LeT men from Pakistan | AK-47 rifles, grenades seized04 Sep 2015 | 1:41 AM

SRINAGAR:In a second firefight in less than 24 hours, four suspected Pakistani militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba and an elite para commando of the Army were killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

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Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, September 3

In a second firefight in less than 24 hours, four suspected Pakistani militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba and an elite para commando of the Army were killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. Three soldiers were injured in the overnight gunfight.

The encounter broke out on Wednesday evening in the forests of Sochalwari Vilgam in Handwara, nearly 85 km from Srinagar, when joint teams of the police and the Army launched a search operation in the area after a tip-off. The police said the four slain Pakistani militants were active in the area and it was not a fresh infiltration. The search operation was jointly launched by the Special Operation Group of the J&K Police, 6 Rashtriya Rifles battalion and 9 Para at 7 pm.

“As the searches were going on, the first contact with the militants was established around 9 pm. In the initial fierce gunfight, a militant was killed while a sepoy of 9 Para Battalion received grievous injuries,” sources said. The sepoy later died. The slain Para commando has been identified as Mohan Nath Goswami, a resident of Uttarakhand.

The fierce firefight continued between the two sides throughout the night and security forces maintained a tight cordon around the area to plug all exit routes. The three militants were later engaged by security forces near a stream inside the dense forest. 

North Kashmir DIG Gareeb Das said the firefight ended at 7 am and the bodies of the four militants were recovered from the encounter site. “They are Pakistani militants and belonged to Lashkar,” Das told The Tribune.

Defence spokesperson Col NN Joshi said four AK-47 rifles, one UBGL and other warlike stores, including ammunition, grenades and radio sets, were recovered from the slain militants. “One Army soldier has attained martyrdom while three others have sustained injuries and are admitted to Army Hospital,” the spokesman said.

This was the second encounter in less than 24 hours in north Kashmir. On Wednesday an Army jawan and a local militant were killed in a gunbattle in Baramulla district.

The encounters between security forces and militants have increased in the recent past in Kashmir. Last week, four suspected Pakistani militants were killed and another was captured alive during a day-long battle in Baramulla district. On August 23, three Pakistani militants were killed in Krumhura forests in Handwara area.

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