3 Hizb militants killed in gunfight, searches for fourth one underway in Kulgam: Police

Srinagar, April 4 : Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants have been killed in an encounter with a joint team of government forces in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Saturday. Police suspects’ fourth militant casualty as it searches debris of a house which was razed to rubble early weekend morning at Hardmanguri area of Khur Batpora.

The gunfight ensued after a joint team of army’s 34 RR, paramilitary CRPF and police’s SOG laid a cordon around the area in the wee hours amid “specific information” about the presence of a group of militants there.

The militants, a police officer said, were asked to lay down arms and an announcement in this regard was made through public address system. However, the officer said, the militants turned down the offer and instead started firing from the house where they were hiding. The joint team retaliated, triggering off an encounter in which the militants were killed, the police officer said.

“Three militant bodies have been recovered and searches are underway to find body of one more of their associate as information received pointed out to the presence of the group of four militants,” the officer said.

Local reports reaching to GNS suggest extensive damage to several houses and not just the one where militants were purportedly hiding.

Director General of Police (DGP), Dilbagh Singh confirmed the killing of three militants as well as searches for the fourth militant. The top officer of J&K claimed that the slain were responsible for recent killings in the southern Kashmir district.

“A group of Hizb militants was killing civilians over the last 12 days. Police were able to track them down today. 3 militants have been killed so far,” Singh told GNS.

He said one more militant was suspected to hiding in the area. Two of the slain militants, Singh said were locals while the identity of the third one is being ascertained.

“During ongoing Corona Preventive efforts, the killing of innocent civilians by mindless militants was highly barbaric and condemnable,” the DGP added. (GNS)