Three militants, one Jammu-Kashmir Police constable was killed and an Army major and CRPF personnel were injured during the ongoing encounter between security forces and militants in Shikargah, Tral in South Kashmir's Pulwama district.
According to reports the house where the militants were hiding has been demolished by the forces. The identities of the militants hasn't been revealed yet
However, at least two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, including the right hand man of slain Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, Sabzar Bhat, were believed to be trapped in the encounter, sources said. The other militant has been identified as Aqib, sources said. Both Sabzar and Aqib are locals from Pulwama's Awantipora area.
The encounter started at around 6 pm when the security forces recieved an intelligence input that some militants were hiding in a house in Tral. Soon enough, the Army, CRPM and police officials were deployed to cordon off the area.
As the news about the encounter spread in the area, a law and order problem erupted, with civilians pelting stone at the forces.
One miscreant hit an assistant sub inspector and snatched his AK-47 rifle before disappearing into the crowd. A separate operation is on to recover the weapon.A top officer told India Today, "Security forces were stopped by civilians. Resistance was shown. We had to rush in reinforcement. An ASI of CRPF was injured his weapon snatched by (the) belligerent crowd."
A local magistrate then imposed section 144, which forbids free assembly of more than four people, in the area. Mobile network in Tral have also been restricted as the encounter rages on.
Government authorities fear that if the two Hizbul militants are gunned down, there may be a repeat of last year, when large-scale protests engulfed the Valley following the killing of Burhan Wani.
(With inputs from Kamaljit Sandhu)