SRINAGAR: 5 Army men including a Major, CRPF Commandant, 4 cops, civilian injured; People helped another militant to escape, say police officials; 20 youth injured in clashes, 12 have pellet injuries
Three Army soldiers and a militant were killed in a fierce gun-battle early Tuesday morning in Hajin area of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Eleven persons including five army men – one of them a Major – one CRPF officer, 4 policemen and a civilian were injured during the gun-battle.
An official said that joint team of 13 and 31 RR, CRPF and police cordoned off Parr Mohalla locality of Hajin in the wee hours after inputs about the presence of two militants in a residential house.
Sources said that as the cordon was being laid, hundreds of people started marching towards the cordoned area to help the militants flee.
“The locals came near the cordoned area, pelted stones and even tried to snatch weapons from the security forces creating chaos and confusion. At around 5:30 a.m. militants opened fire which was retaliated, triggering an encounter,” sources said.
“Taking advantage of the chaos, militants – in a bid to escape – came out of the house and started indiscriminate firing and lobbed a grenade towards security forces killing two army men on the spot while 10 other security personnel including an Army Major, 4 army men, CRPF Commandant and four policemen were injured. One of the injured army men identified as Sepoy Ravi Kumar of 31 RR later succumbed to his injuries.”
The other two slain army men were identified as Dharmendra Kumar of 31 RR and Ashutosh Kumar of 13 RR.
They said that in the retaliatory firing one militant was killed while another, taking advantage of the chaos, managed to escape from the encounter site.
CRPF Commandant Chetan Chita of 45 BN was grievously injured during the encounter. “He has gunshot wounds in his eye and hand. He has been shifted to Delhi for specialized treatment where his condition is stated to be critical,” said an official.
The injured Army men were identified as Major BS Thapa of 13 RR, Sepoy Mukesh Chandra of 13 RR and Ptr. Sandeep Kumar of 31 RR. “Four policemen also received minor injuries after being hit by grenade splinters during the encounter,” said the official.
A civilian was also injured during the encounter after he was hit by a bullet in his leg. He was identified as Hilal Ahmad Parrey son of Mustafa Parrey. “Hilal was hit by a stray bullet during the encounter. He was shifted to Hajin hospital from where he was referred to SKIMS Bemina,” said an official.
Meanwhile, 20 youths and four policemen were injured during clashes between government forces and youths in Hajin chowk and Saderkoot Bala areas.
According to witnesses, as the encounter was going on youths from adjoining localities clashed with police and CRPF by hurling stones and bricks at them.
Witnesses said that police responded by lobbing dozens of tear smoke shells and firing pellets in which 20 youths were injured. “We received 20 injured youth in the hospital out of which seven youth injured by pellets were referred to SMHS hospital for advanced treatment. Others were discharged after giving medical aid,” said BMO Hajin Dr. Tariq.
Clashes also broke out in Saderkoot Bala area of Bandipora after police and CRPF vehicles came under heavy stone pelting in Saderkoot chowk.
Witnessed said that forces fired pellets and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth. “In the forces’ action, five youths received pellet injuries. One of them was hit by pellets in his eye and was shifted to Hajin hospital from where he was referred to SMHS,” reports said.
Srinagar-based Army Spokesman Rajesh Kalia said that in the Hajin operation one militant was killed and three soldiers lost their lives. He said that five other soldiers were injured during the operation.
Superintendent of Police Bandipora, Zulfikar Azad, said they had inputs about presence of militants in Hajin area. “During the exchange of fire one foreign militant was killed,” he said.__GK News