In the first gunfight in the Kashmir valley since the PDP-BJP government came to power, a jawan of an Army’s counter-insurgency unit and a Special Police Officer (SPO) of the J&K Police were killed in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
The militants, believed to be at least two and hailing from south and central Kashmir, broke the cordon and managed to escape.
The militants, sources said, escaped the cordon in the initial stages of the encounter that erupted when a joint team of the Army’s 29 Rashtriya Rifles battalion, Special Operation Group (SOG) of the J&K police and CRPF launched an operation following a tip-off about the presence Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Hardespora Pattan village, nearly 40 km from Srinagar. The gunfight erupted at 7.45 am when troops were zeroing in on the suspected militant hideout in the village. “As the house was being zeroed in, the hiding militants opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in injuries to two Army men, an SPO and a civilian,” said an official.
The heavy exchange of fire continued for almost half an hour. The injured were rushed to the Srinagar-based Army hospital where a soldier and an SPO succumbed to their injuries.
The slain were identified as Jageshwar from Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, and a SPO Mohammad Shafi. A civilian Manzoor Ahmad Rather, who was injured, was shifted to Srinagar hospital for treatment, where his condition is stated to be stable. Meanwhile, additional deployment of Army and police personnel was rushed to the area.