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Mujgund gunfight:14, 17 years old among 3 militants killed

Srinagar, Dec 9: The intense 18-hour-long gunfight that began Saturday evening in Mujgund area on Srinagar outskirts ended Sunday morning with the killing of the third militant even as a huge battery of government forces blasted multiple houses and shacks near the gunfight site.

The slain militants included two local teenagers – Mudasir Rashid (14) son of Abdul Rashid Parray, and Saqib Bilal Sheikh (17) son of Bilal Ahmad Sheikh, both residents of Hajin area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

The two were missing since August 31 with their families repeatedly appealing the duo to return and vainly asking also the authorities to trace them.

The third militant, as per a spokesperson of the J&K police, was “learnt to be a Pakistani identified as Ali”.

The three militants, the spokesperson said, were affiliated with Lashkar-e-Taiba militant outfit.

The bodies of two locals teenager militants have been handed over to the family for last rites and according to the family, both of them would be interred on Monday.

Briefing about the encounter, he said a joint search operation was launched on Saturday by police, CRPF and army based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Mujgund.

“During the search operation, the search party was fired upon by the hiding militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight. In the initial exchange of fire one army trooper sustained injuries and was shifted to hospital for medical treatment,” the spokesperson said.

“In the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter,” he said adding: “Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter.”

The area, as per the local reports, boomed with loud thuds throughout the Saturday night and Sunday morning as government forces used massive gunfire to kill the lone militant, apparently the foreigner among the trio.

He, as per the reports, kept the forces on tenterhooks by changing locations and kept firing intermittently from different directions.

The two other militants had already been killed late Saturday evening but the forces were not able to retrieve their bodies until the encounter ended.

At least five forces personnel, the reports added, were injured in the exchange of fire although the police only confirmed injuries to one army trooper.

“Three civilians also sustained injuries as the area was in open and the injured were shifted to hospital for medical treatment. They are stated to be stable,” the police spokesperson said.

“Huge quantity of arms and ammunition including rifles were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and probe their complicity in other cases,” the spokesperson added.

“Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any,” he said.

Intense clashes occurred in Mujgund area between civilians and government forces during and after the gunfight.

Several persons were injured during the clashes as scores of youth, as per reports, took to streets after the news of gunfight spread in the area.

Reports said that the injured were shifted to SKIMS Soura and SMHS hospital for treatment.

They added two youth with bullet injuries were brought to SKIMS Soura and three youth were admitted at SMHS hospital one of them with bullet injuries in left thigh while two have suffered pellet injuries.

The injured were identified as Altaf Ahmed Shagoo son of Ghulam Ahmed Shagoo, Shabir Ahmad both residents of HMT and Muneer Ahmad Sheikh of Mujgund.

Clashes also broke out between the protesters and the government forces in Hajin after the news spread about the killing of the local teenager militants.

Reports said that groups of youth took to streets and staged protests soon after the news of the killing reached Hajin.

The youth hurled stones on the forces deployed in the area to prevent protests.

The forces, according to witnesses, resorted to tear gas shelling and pellet firing to disperse the protesting youth.