2 militants killed in South Kashmir gunfight

One militant son of police official, both hold bachelor’s degree

Two militants were killed in an encounter with forces in Nowpora village of Frisal area in this South Kashmir district Sunday, police said. One of the slain militants is son of a police official.
“On information about presence of militants, Police, Army’s 1 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and CRPF’s 18th and 90 Battalions jointly launched cordon and searches in Nowpora village,” a police official said.
He said that as the cordon was being laid, the militants holed up inside the house of a village Sarpanch fired towards the forces, triggering the encounter. “After brief exchange of fire, there was no firing from the militants’ side. The family members in the house belonging to PDP Sarpanch, Feroz Ahmad, were rescued by police while militants also gave them a safe passage,” he said.
The official said forces later fired several times towards the house but there was no retaliation “After more than an hour, militants again started heavy firing which was again retaliated, triggering a fierce gun-battle,” he said.
He said since the forces could not kill the militants till evening, the house was destroyed with explosives.
“Both the militants were killed and their bodies retrieved from the debris,” the official said.
Police identified the slain militants as Ishfaq Ahmad Bhat (19) alias Muzamil son Ghulam Muhammad of Chakoora village of Shopian district and Zubair Ahmad Bhat (20) alias Musaib son of Nazir Ahmad, native of Nowpora village of Frisal.
“Zubair’s father Nazir Ahmad is working in Jammu and Kashmir police department as Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) and is posted in Kellar police station in Shopian district,” reports said.
Police said the duo belonged to Ayatollah alias Maaz sub-group of Lashkar-Toiba( LeT) and were “active” in South Kashmir.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, South Kashmir, confirmed killing of both militants.
He said Ishfaq had joined militancy some six months back.
Sources said both the slain militants were holding Bachelor’s Degree. Ishfaq was a B.Com pass-out.

Meanwhile, massive protests erupted at the encounter site as people demanded bodies of slain militants. Shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, the protesters marched towards the site as police and CRPF used force to disperse them, witnesses said.

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