Eight people including a civilian were killed in a 50-hour long ambush led by government forces in Babagund Langate Handwara in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district which ended on Sunday, March 3.
The ambush was led by a joint team the army’s 22 RR (Rashtriya Rifles), 92 battalion CRPF and Special officer Group (SOG) and started on Thursday night at around 9 PM.
Forces had installed lights in the area to prevent the escape of the militants owing to darkness. As per reports, soon after forces intensified the siege, at around 1 AM a gunfight ensued.
As news about the ambush spread in the area, people from different villages started protesting to help the trapped to break the cordon. To disperse the protesters, forces used pellets, tear and chilli gas canisters.
During the clashes, a civilian was killed and four others were injured. The slain youth was identified as Waseem Ahmad Mir, son of Mohammad Akbar, a resident of Sagipora Spore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
As per officials, forces used explosives and blasted the house in which the militants were trapped. Following that when the forces entered to retrieve the bodies of the two militants, one of them, believed to be dead, stood up and fired indiscriminately towards the forces leading to injuries of one CRPF Inspector, a policeman and five army soldiers.
Reports further say that two policemen SgCt Naseer Ahmad Kholi and SgCt Ghulam Mustafa Barah and two CRPF troopers Inspector Pintu and Ct Vinod succumbed to their injuries in the hospital on Saturday. On Sunday afternoon, another CRPF man succumbed to his injuries, who was being treated at 92 base hospital Badamibagh Srinagar. The slain CRPF man was identified as Head Constable, Sham Narain Singh Yadav of CRPF 92.
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Elite Para commandos from 3 and 9 battalions joined the operation on Saturday. As per police officials, this operation posed considerable difficulties to the government forces due to the topography of the area. The area where the militants were hiding was very congested and civilians in the adjoining houses had to be evacuated to the safer places away from the site of encounter.
Taking advantage of congestion, one of the militants was able to move from one house to another. During the ambush, three houses were razed to the ground. The damaged houses belonged to Manzoor Ahmad Shah, Fayaz Ahmad Peer and Imtiyaz Ahmad Bhat.
The two militants who were killed during the gunfight are yet to be identified.
In a statement, a police spokesman said that citizens are requested not to venture inside encounter zones since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. “People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitised and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any,” said the spokesman.
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