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Soldier-turned-militant, his associate killed in Shopian gunfight

Srinagar, Nov 6:Two militants were killed in a gunfight with government forces at Safanagri area in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday.

A Police official said that in Safanagri area of Zainapora in District Shopian, Police and government forces launched a cordon and search operation in the predawn hours Tuesday based on credible inputs about the presence of militants in the area.

 

“As the search operation was going on, hiding militantsfired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter,” the official said.

In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed. They were identified as Muhammad Idrees Sultan alias ChotaAbrar of Safanagri Shopian and Amir Hussain Rather alias Abu Sobaan of Awneera Shopian.

“They were affiliated with militant outfit Hizbul Mijhadeen and were involved in militant attacks on security establishments. Pertinently Idress was a deserter from Army. No collateral damage took place during the operation, the official added. Idrees, who was posted in Bihar and had come home to Shopian on leave in April this year joined the Hizbul Mujahideen. He was the second soldier from the Army to sign up with a militant group in the last nine months. He had studied till BSc second year and was serving in the Army’s 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) in Bihar,” the police official said.

He added that incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.

Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the instant matter.Citizens are once again 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,” the official added.

Later, thousands of people thronged the native villages of the two slain militants to take part in their last rites.

Mourners from adjoining and far -off places reached Safnagri and Awnera as soon as the bodies of the militants were handed over to their heirs.

After several rounds of funeral prayers, Mir Idrees was buried around 2:15 PM at the local martyrs’ graveyard at Safnagri.

Amir Hussain Rather was also laid to rest in the afternoon after multiple rounds of funeral prayers.

Veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, according to a mourner, also addressed his funeral procession telephonically.

Both the villages reverberated with pro-Pakistan and pro- freedom slogans.