M A I N   N E W S

2 Lashkar militants killed in Kashmir gunfight
2 Army officers among 10 hurt Clashes in Pulwama; probe ordered 
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 28
Two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants were killed and three security personnel, including two Army officers, were injured in a fierce gunfight in a village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday.

At least seven civilians were also wounded. While a police spokesman said the persons were injured in “retaliatory action” when a mob attacked an ambulance carrying an injured Armyman for treatment, the civilians’ account contradicted the police statement. A formal investigation has been ordered into the incident.

Following a “tip-off” about the presence of militants, Bubgam village of Pulwama district was sealed by personnel of police’s Srinagar and Pulwama units, Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF’s 182 Battalion in the early hours of Friday, a police official said.

Militants fired upon the joint search party, triggering an encounter in which two of them were killed, the official said. A Major, a Captain and a policeman were injured in the gunfight.

South Kashmir Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Vijay Kumar identified the slain militants as Imtiyaz Ahmad Teli, who operated under the alias Fahadullah Kashmiri, and Mohammad Aamir Bhat, who used the aliases Khalid and Khursheed. Both were residents of south Kashmir -- Teli was from Pulwama district while Bhat was from Shopian district.

Kashmir Zone Inspector General of Police SM Sahai said Teli was a locally trained militant and was the District Commander of LeT. He had been arrested in 2009 and was released after 10 months in June 2010. “However, Imtiyaz (Teli) recycled again in 2011 after being motivated by the then Divisional Commander of LeT, Rehman Bhai,” Sahai said.

Sahai said the militants were “involved” in the July 28 grenade attack on a cab in south Kashmir’s Bijbehara town that killed all four women tourists in it. The police had then claimed that the blast was caused by a cylinder burst.

“It seemed like a gas cylinder blast at that time. However, after forensic examinations and other investigations, it was termed as a grenade attack,” the IGP said.

Sahai also said that the initial investigation revealed that Teli was also involved in a grenade attack on a liquor shop at Narwal in Jammu province in which one person was killed and five others injured.

A police spokesman said seven persons were injured in “retaliatory action” when a mob attacked an ambulance in Pulwama town that was taking the injured Army Major for treatment. He identified the seven men as Mohammad Yaseen Bhat, Ashiq Ahmad, Jahangir Ahmed, Gowhar Ahmad, Imran Bhat, Showkat Mir and Younis Mir. They have been admitted to hospitals in Srinagar. Some other injured were admitted at a local hospital in Pulwama district.

However, the account of the injured civilians clashed with the police claim. One of the injured said he and two others were carrying their “cousin” to a hospital after he was hit by a “stray bullet” at his village near the encounter site. When they reached Pulwama town in a cab, they were fired “without provocation” from an Army vehicle when their driver tried to overtake it, he said. “Three of us were injured when the Army fired on the cab,” the man, who was hit by a bullet in the stomach, said.

Army spokesperson Col Brijesh Pandey said its ambulance carrying the injured Major was only being escorted by a police vehicle and no Armyman fired on the civilians. “Whoever fired on the people was not from the Army. We cannot tell who fired,” he said.

Pulwama Deputy Commissioner Shafat Noor Barlas has ordered a magisterial probe into the firing. “The probe will be conducted by the Additional District Magistrate. The inquiry report will be submitted in a time bound manner and is expected be furnished in 15 days,” he said, adding that restrictions on the movement of people were also imposed in the area. 

Violent December
Dec 13: 3 militants killed in two separate gunfights near Sopore, north Kashmir
Dec 18-19: 6 LeT militants killed in Sopore
Dec 24: 2 LeT militants and a head constable killed in Kulgam area of south Kashmir





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