Four militants of the Jaish-e-Mohammed were killed on Saturday in an encounter in Pulwama in South Kashmir, the second in the district in the last 24 hours. The encounter was followed by heavy clashes between local residents and security forces, in which at least 30 civilians suffered injuries, mostly pellet wounds.
The police said one of the militants killed was a Pakistani.
A senior Army officer in South Kashmir told The Sunday Express that the area, in Hanjan Peeyan village of Pulwama, was cordoned off late on Friday night following reports about the presence of militants, and the men were asked to surrender. “But they refused and fired at security forces,” said the officer.
Police said they started a cordon and search operation on Saturday morning. “As searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the terrorists. The fire was retaliated to, leading to a gunfight,” a spokesperson said. In the firefight, the four men died; one house was gutted.
Three of the men killed were identified as Muzamil Ahmad Dar, Waseem Akram Wani and Muzamil Nazir Bhat, all residents of Pulwama. “From the incriminating material recovered at the site of the encounter, one terrorist is learnt to have been a foreigner — from Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.
A senior police officer in South Kashmir said the three local residents had joined militancy this year, and the suspected Pakistani was active since the last one year. The officer said the four were suspected to have been involved in an attack on a security establishment near the encounter site on Friday.
IGP, Kashmir, S P Pani confirmed that the slain militants were affiliated with the JeM. “They were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of terror crimes, including attacks on security establishments and atrocities on civilians,” a police spokesperson said.
Officials at District Hospitals in Pulwama and Rajpora said that except for one, most of the injured had received treatment locally. “One of the injured had a bullet wound on his hand and he was shifted to Srinagar for treatment,” said a senior officer at District Hospital, Pulwama.
Rajpora Hospital received 28 of the injured, who were discharged after treatment. “Most of the patients came with pellet injuries,” said Dr Javid Ahmad, Block Medical Officer, Rajpora.
Saturday’s shootout followed Friday’s morning encounter in Pulwama in which one alleged militant was killed.