4 militants killed in first gunfight post-coronavirus lockdown in J-K

4 militants killed in first gunfight post-coronavirus lockdown in J-K

Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 4

In a first gunfight post COVID-19 lockdown, four militants were killed on Saturday in a gunfight in South Kashmir's Kulgam district.

The gunfight broke out between militants and joint forces at village Hardmand Guri, Manzgam, over 120 kms from Srinagar when a cordon and a search operation was being laid following a “credible input” about militant presence.

" As forces cordoned suspected location, the hiding militants at around 6 am fired upon the forces triggering an encounter.  Four militants were killed in the operation," a police officer in Kulgam said. The identity of the slain could not be established immediately. However, sources said all the slain were locals and were associated with Hizbul Mujahideen.

 A police spokesman said the slain militants were part of the group that was involved in the killing of atleast  four civilians in Kulgam. In past two weeks five civilians- four among them from Kulgam - were killed by unidentified gunmen. The civilian killings had triggered panic in the Kulgam.

On March 21, a 28-year-old man, Waseem Ahmad, was shot at and injured in Turigam village of Yaripora in Kulgam. He succumbed ten days later at a Srinagar hospital.  Days later, on March 27, Mehrajuddin Bhat of Redwini Kulgam was shot dead near his home.  On April 1, two civilians- one a retired forest department employee, Ghulam Hassan Wagay and a laborer Sirajuddin Khatana- were shot dead in Damhal Hanjipora area of district.

" A Hizbul Mujahideen group of 3 to 4 terrorists was killing civilians over the last 12 days. Four such killings were done by them in south Kashmir," the spokesman said. He said Police was able to track down the group and an operation was launched this morning.

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