Two militants including a top commander of Al Badr outfit were killed in a brief encounter while a soldier committed suicide by shooting himself on Saturday. Both incidents occurred in Kulgam district of south Kashmir.
Sources said that security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Katapora village of Kulgam late on Saturday following input on presence of militants there.
They said as the security personnel zeroed in on the suspected place, the two sides began exchange of heavy gunfire. During the gunfight, two militants were killed. One of the slain militants was later identified as Zeenatul Islam, a top-ranking militant who was active in south Kashmir region since November 2015.
Islam was among three most wanted militant commanders from south Kashmir besides Ansar Ghazwatul Hind chief Zakir Musa and Hizbul Mujahideen Operations Commander Riyaz Naikoo. Few months ago, Islam had closed ranks with Hizbul Mujahideen and joined Al Badr outfit. He was known as an expert in fabricating Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Before he joined militant ranks, he was jailed under Public Safety Act (PSA).
Sources said that militants tried to escape from the cordoned area but were chased away and killed in open fields in a brief exchange of fire. Their bodies were lying in the fields for several hours.
Clashes erupted around the gunfight site as some residents attempted to hold a march in support of militants. The authorities snapped internet services in the area.
In another incident, an army man committed suicide by shooting himself dead with his service rifle in the same area.
Abishekh Roy Kumar posted at 34 RR camp in Behibagh shot himself with his service rifle.