Four militants, including two special police officers (SPOs) who decamped with weapons, were killed hours later on Friday in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said.
Two of the slain militants were identified as Shabir Ahmad of Tujan, Pulwama; and Suliman Ahmad of Uthmulla Shopian who had reportedly signed up for militancy less than 24 hours ago. The other two were identified as Irfan Ahmad Bhat of Arihal and Ashiq Hussain Ganie of Panjran, both in Pulwama. They were affiliated with the Jaish e Mohammad outfit, police said.
“Two SPOs who went missing barely twenty four hours ago were among the four militants killed as a joint team of army, special operations group (SOG) of state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) surrounded the Panjran village following inputs about militant presence on Thursday evening,” an officer said.
“While the searches were being conducted, the militants hiding in the area fired upon the forces leading to the encounter. One militant was killed in the initial exchange of fire on Thursday. “The operation continued till early Friday morning and ended with the killing of all four militants,” he added.
Shabir and Suliman were working as SPOs with Jammu and Kashmir Police and had vanished from District Police Lines Pulwama on Thursday along with their service rifles, police sources added.
The operation was launched on Thursday on specific information about the presence of a group of militants hiding in Panjran village. As the cordon around the hiding militants was tightened, they had fired starting the encounter.
Mobile Internet services in Pulwama district has been suspended.