LoC encounter: Militant, Army jawan killed; five soldiers are injured

Security forces have launched an operation to track down the assailants.

Srinagar: A militant and an Army jawan were killed and five other soldiers including a major were wounded in a gun battle in Macheal area close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Tuesday night, officials here said.

Reports said that Army’s 56 Rashtriya Rifles along with its PARA commandos have launched a massive search operation in the area following reports that a group of militants sneaked in Kupwara from PoK recently.

On Tuesday night, the troops had a one-on-one with the group of militants along the Jat Gali (pass) of Macheal and in the ensuing encounter one militant and a soldier were killed.

An Army major and four jawans were also injured, one of them critically. They were later airlifted to Srinagar where they have been admitted to 92 Base Hospital in Badamibagh Cantonment, police and Army sources said.

The slain soldier has been identified as Ajay Chaurdhary from 56 Rashtriya Rifles’ signalman, while the injured are sepoys Lakshman Das, Nikhil Ghaur, Nitesh Kumar and Suraj.

An Army major who has not been named received a minor injury in the encounter. The identity of the slain militant is yet to be ascertained as the operation was continuing as reports last came in.

Meanwhile, two shopkeepers were injured in a grenade blasts in south Kashmir’s Shopian’s Batora Chowk on Wednesday. The area was quickly sealed by police to launch investigations.

Another grenade was hurled by suspected militants at a local police station, but did not cause any damage.

In Srinagar, hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of Sheikh Tanveer Sultan, a 32-year-old man from the City’s Bemina area who was shot dead by security forces in the highway town of Kud, 194-km south of the restive region’s main town earlier during the week.

Officials claimed that he was shot by cops in retaliation after he opened fire on them at a makeshift check-point at Kud along the Srinagar-Jammu highway on Wednesday. A woman resident was killed and two other civilians were injured in the reported shootout.

But terming the incident as cold-blooded killing, the slain man's family claimed that Sultan was mentally ill and that he was travelling in a public transport bus to relocate to Amritsar for treatment when he was killed.

Sultan's killing sparked off widespread protests for the second consecutive day on Wednesday in Srinagar while some masked youth in his funeral procession waved Islamic State flag and that of Pakistan amid shouts of 'we want freedom'.

Earlier police swooped on separatist leaders and activists by taking them into preventive custody or placing them under house arrest to prevent them from participating in a planned silent protest against the government’s proposal to set up separate clusters for displaced Kashmiri Pandits and a sainik colony for former and serving soldiers of the Army and their families in Srinagar and elsewhere in the Valley.

Pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Muhammad Yasin Malik was once again arrested from his Maisuma residence shortly after dawn.

He has been lodged at City’s Kothi Bagh Police Station, Malik faced repeated arrests after he started unification move in separatist camp.

Dozens other leaders and activists of all factions of Hurriyat Conference were also placed under house arrest or detained in police stations.

Among them is Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq whereas senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani remains under house arrest for the past several months.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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