Srinagar, January 22: Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including an IPS officer’s brother, were killed in an encounter with security forces on Tuesday in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said here.
Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Heff area of the district based on information about the presence of militants in the area, a police official said.
He said the search operation turned into a gunfight after the militants opened fire at the security personnel.
Three militants were killed in the operation that lasted over seven hours, the official said, adding arms, ammunition and other incriminating material were recovered from the encounter scene. The slain militants were identified as Shamsul Haq Mengnoo, Aamir Suhail Bhat and Shoaib Ahmad Shah, son of Ghulam Rasool, a resident of Shermal in Shopian.
Shamsul Haq Mengnoo is brother of 2012-batch IPS officer Inamul Haq Mengnoo, who is posted in the northeast. Shamsul Haq was pursuing a degree in Unani system of medicine from a college in Srinagar before he joined the militant ranks last year, the official said.
Later, clashes broke out between local residents and the security forces near the encounter site. During the clashes, four journalists suffered pellet injuries while they were discharging their professional duties.
Various journalist bodies and political parties, including the PDP and the Congress, have condemned the “assault” on the journalists. State president of Congress GA Mir said the “assault on photojournalists is unacceptable and deplorable and amounts to curbing the freedom of press”.
PDP leader Naeem Akhtar also condemned the alleged “assault” on scribes, saying if the pellets can hit journalists, who are on the opposite side of the crowd while covering protests, these can hit anybody. “It indicates a very wanton and indiscriminate use of the weapon,” he said.