Srinagar: The Army operation against militants in Kashmir’s Kulgam district was called off in the midnight after clashes broke out between security personnel and locals.
Officials said that the clashes helped the two militants escape. One of the two militants trapped was said to be a top Lashkar commander named Junaid Matoo. Search operation for the two militants is still on though the cordon has been taken off. Police said they would rely on more specific information to get the militants.
Security forces had on Thursday launched a cordon-and-search operation in Khudwani area of Kulgam district after information about presence of three to four militants there, an Army official had said.
As the security forces were closing in on the militants, they opened fire.
“The cordon had been strengthened to prevent the militants from escaping. So far, there have been no casualties,” the official said.
The operation comes five days after militants killed seven people, including five policemen, in adjoining Kulgam.
Hours before this cordon, Army, police and paramilitary carried out it one of largest drills to flush out militants in Shopian. A ring was thrown around 20 villages to nab militants who lately had been filming videos flaunting their rifles and patrolling ceaselessly in apple orchards and forests.
The forces moved in with 4000 troops and were aided by aerial reconnaissance support to engage with militants whos presence was suspected in the belt.
However, through the day the forces could not establish any contact with militants but when they were winding up, a vehicle came under attack from militants in Killora village, Shopian. A local driver was killed and four soldiers injured.