SRINAGAR: Two suspected anti-India rebels were killed during a heavy exchange of fire with government forces in southern Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday evening. The gunfight had erupted in farm land in Padgampora area of the district.
The killing of the rebels sparked widespread protests in various parts of the district while police resorted to tear-smoke shelling to disperse the protesters.
According to reports, a group of rebels was present in neighbouring Wandakhpora fields who were encircled by government forces in private vehicles. After a brief exchange of fire, the rebels managed to escape to a nearby farm in Padgampora.
A police official claimed to have had received information that 8 to 10 rebels had convened a meeting and were present in Wandakhpora. “As the police and Army arrived in the area, they came under attack from militants. The militants fled from the scene; however, we cordoned off a vast portion of agriculture farm. There was intermittent exchange of fire between militants and government forces. After lull, we combed the area and recovered the bodies of two militants,” the official said.
Eyewitnesses said shortly after the encounter, people from different hamlets of Pulwama district including Goripora, Pohu, Pinglen, Malangpora, Bandarpora, Lelhar tried to proceed towards the encounter site. However, police halted their movement and used tear-smoke shells to disperse them. The protesters amid pro-freedom slogans resorted to heavy stone-pelting.
A police official, on condition of anonymity, said that at least six rebels managed to escape from the encounter site.