Gunfight in Kashmir Enters Third Day

Srinagar, Sept 28: The gunfight between soldiers and militants in Kupwara in North Kashmir entered its third day on Wednesday. According to a senior army officer, five militants, two policemen and an army official have been killed in the firefight so far while two militants are still being holed up.

“On the intervening night 26/27 September, a group of around seven militants attempted to infiltrate into Kashmir from the Shamesbari area of Keran sector, Kupwara in North Kashmir. The group was intercepted by the alert army men. However, taking advantage of darkness, militants managed to take refuge in dense forest area,” A L Chavan, Brigadier General Staff of Army’s 15 Corps told media here.

He said after cordoning off all possible escape routes, army and the Special Operation Group (SOG) personnel of police launched a joint operation to flush out the hiding militants. “During the combing operation, the militants fired from automatic weapons towards the search party. The fire was returned by the soldiers, triggering an encounter. In the ensuing gunfight, which was going on, five militants, two SPOs and an army official have been killed,” Chavan said.

“The efforts are on to flush them out as well. All the militants belonging to Lashker-e-Toiba,” he said.

Lt Colonel Sushil Khajuria died after killing two militants in a close range firefight. “He died after trying to retrieve bodies of an injured SPO and an army man. However, before he could retrieve the bodies, he was critically injured in the militant firing. He died while being taken to the hospital,” Chavan said.

Chavan said owing to harsh mountains, dense forests and natural caves, the operation to flush out militants was taking time.

Claiming that army has successfully foiled infiltration bids by militants this year, he said 24 attempts were made by militants to cross into Kashmir via Shamasbari and its adjoining areas.

“The Army has killed 26 militants while foiling these bids,” Chavan added.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.