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Handwara encounter ends on day 3: 2 militants killed, CRPF man succumbs

Srinagar, Mar 3: Two militants, five government forces personnel were killed as nearly 48-hour long gunfight ended at Babagund Handwara in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

A militant and four government forces personnel including a CRPF Inspector were killed and eleven others were injured on Friday.

 

On Saturday morning, elite Para commandos from 3 and 9 battalions joined the already strengthened posse of government forces comprising army’s 22 Rashtriya Rifles, 92 battalion CRPF and police’s Special Operation Group.

On Sunday morning, one more CRPF personnel succumbed to injuries while the militant believed to be a foreigner who was changing locations was finally killed, a top police officer said, adding that searches were going on to find if there was any more militant body.

The CRPF trooper who succumbed on Sunday in Army’s 92 Base Hospital Badamibagh here was identified as Head Constable, Sham Narain Singh Yadav of CRPF 92, a senior police officer said.

With the killing of two militants, the overall death toll mounted to eight including a civilian who was allegedly killed in government forces action amid clashes near the gunfight site on Friday.

A police spokesperson said that bodies of both the militants were recovered from the site of encounter and their identities and affiliations were being ascertained.

“This operation posed considerable difficulties to the security forces due to the topography of the area. The area where the militants were hiding was very congested and civilians in the adjoining houses had to be evacuated to the safer places away from the site of encounter,” the spokesperson said.

The encounter broke out during the night between February 28 and March 1 after the joint team launched a cordon-and-search operation. A fierce encounter started and two militants were believed to have been killed.

However, when the joint search team went to retrieve the militant bodies amid a lull, one of the two militants, earlier believed to be dead stood up and fired indiscriminately. A CRPF Inspector namely Pintu Kumar and paramilitary trooper Vinod besides two policemen– Naseer Ahmad Kholi and Ghulam Mustafa Barah—were killed and eleven uniformed men, seven of the army men, were injured in the subsequent gunfight. A civilian Waseem Ahmad Mir was also killed in alleged government forces action amid clashes near the encounter site.

Three houses have also been razed to rubble during the course of a gunfight. The three houses damaged belong to Manzoor Ahmad Shah son of Ghulam Hassan, Fayaz Ahmad Peer son of Wali Mohammad and Imtiyaz Ahmad Bhat son of Ghulam Ahmad Bhat. Two cowsheds and a tin shed were also damaged so far, the officials added. (With inputs from GNS)