Two Hizb Militants, Youth Missing Since Thursday Killed In Shopian Gunfight

Bodies of slain trio handed over to legal heirs for last rites; thousands attend funeral; clashes ensue; internet snapped

Umer Rashid

Srinagar, May 31 : Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants and a youth who was missing since Thursday were killed in an encounter at Dragad Sugan area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday.

Official sources told GNS that two among the three bodies which were recovered near the encounter site are that of militants while another is of a missing youth.

A police officer identified the two militants as Abid Manzoor Magray alias Sajju Tiger son of Manzoor Ahmad Magray of Nowpora Payeen Pulwama and Bilal Ahmad Bhat of Urmullah Lassipora, Pulwama. He said both militants were affiliated with HM outfit.

The officer identified the slain youth as Jasim Rashid Shah of Malnad Zainpora Shopian. According to reports, Jasim was missing from his home since Thursday.

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The bodies of the trio was taken to Zainapora police station for further necessary formalities, he said, adding that after conducting all medico-legal formalities, the bodies were handed over to their respective families for last rites.

Later, thousands of people attended funeral prayers of the slain at their respective native places, reports and eyewitness told GNS.

The encounter broke out after the joint team of army’s 44 RR and SOG launched a cordon-and-search operation at Dragad Sugan today pre-dawn hours.

A police spokesman in a statement said the cordon was laid following the credible inputs at Dragad in Sugan area. “The encounter site was located in orchards and with no habitation nearby,” he said.

Abid and Manzoor were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of militant crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities. Several crime cases were registered against them, the spokesman said.

According to the police records, “Abid had a history of crime records since 2016. He was part of groups involved in planning and executing series of militant attacks in the area and many other civilian atrocities.”

“Several crime cases were registered against him. He was involved in case FIR No 509/2016 pertaining to militant attack at Litter, Case FIR No. 281/2016 pertaining to weapon snatching at Gudbug Guard, Case FIR No. 19/2018 pertaining to firing on PP Lassipora, Case FIR No. 35/2018 pertaining to firing on patrolling party at Alaipora Lassipora, Case FIR No. 45/2018 pertaining to theft of vehicle, Case FIR No. 304/2013 pertaining to kidnapping of a girl and several other criminal cases,” the spokesman said.

Similarly, Manzoor was involved in several militant attacks on security establishments in the area, the spokesman said adding “many terror crime cases were also registered against him”.

Jasim, as per the records and inputs available with police coupled with the family version, was missing since Thursday afternoon and was part of the group, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, stone pelting clashes erupted near encounter site and its adjoining areas. The police and paramilitary forces used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.

In wake of the operation, authorities snapped internet services in the southern district as a precautionary measure. (GNS)

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