Kashmir: Militant killed in 18-hour Awantipora encounter

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A militant was killed in an 18-hour encounter at Charsoo village in Awantipora area of South Kashmir on Friday. Two more militants escaped from the encounter site, police sources said.

On specific information about presence of militants in Batpora Chersoo village, cops of Special Operations Group Awantipora and soldiers of Army’s 55 and 3 Rashtriya Rifles cordoned the village on Thursday at 8 pm, they said.

“During the search operation, at least two militants fired upon the forces, triggering an encounter. The militants managed to enter a residential house of Ghulam Muhammad Lone. One or two militants managed to escape from the spot after taking advantage of darkness,” sources said.

The exchange of firing continued till 2 pm Friday. The forces ultimately blasted the

house, which led to killing one militant, police said.

The residential house and adjacent cowshed were complete damaged in the blast. The body of the slain militant was recovered from the debris and police later identified him as Showkat Ahmad Qasab of Awantipora.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, DIG of Police (South Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said: “The slain militant was associated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.”

He said: “We could not clear the debris quickly as people resorted to heavy stone-pelting on forces. They also damaged a police vehicle. We handed over the body of the militant to his family and left the place.”

While the encounter was on, hundreds of locals assembled on Srinagar-Jammu highway and pelted stones on the government forces. The protesters shouted anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, witnesses said.

The body of the slain militant was taken to his home in a procession attended by hundreds of people.

Massive protests were held later in Awantipora, near the militant’s ancestral graveyard.

Thousands of people attended his funeral, reports said.

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