In yet another gun- battle between the security forces and the militants, three militants cornered by the security forces managed to escape after a prolonged fire-fight in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. A jawan was killed in action while four civilians onlookers lost their lives in the crossfire, officials said.
Briefing reporters, senior police officers said there was specific intelligence about the presence of three local militants owing allegiance to Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba terror group at a house in the Khudwani area following which a cordon was thrown at 10 pm last night.
The security forces suffered a setback at the beginning itself when a jawan identified as Sapper Sada Gunakara Rao (24), was injured and rushed to the Army base hospital here. Rao, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh, succumbed to his injuries. Meanwhile, the gun-fight outside the house where the militants were holed up continued with bullets flying in every direction, they said. The house was on the bank of Jhelum and locals started gathering on the other side of the river, officials said.
Repeated requests were made to the onlookers to leave the area as they were within the firing range. However, the warnings went unheeded and four civilians were killed, they said. Three of the slain youth were identified as Sarjeel Ahmad (25), Bilal Ahmad Tantray (16) and Faisal Ilahi (14). The identity of the fourth was being ascertained. “In the encounter, four civilians, who were injured in the crossfire, have succumbed to their injuries,” a police spokesman said.