Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
RINAGAR: Even as Army claimed to have killed at least five militants of a group of eight infiltrators in Gurez area of northern Kashmir on Friday, suspected militants shot dead a former militant of Jamiat-ul Mujahideen and left his four-year-old son critically injured in Sagipora village in Sopore-Handwara belt.
Informed sources told STATE TIMES that two unidentified youths, suspected to be militants, slowed down their motorcycle and fired pistol shots on 37-year-old Bashir Ahmad Bhat, son of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat while he was returning to his home from a shop at Sagipora, bordering Baramulla and Kupwara districts, on Sopore-Handwara road at around 7.00 P.M.
Bhat as well as his four-year-old son Burhan sustained critical injuries. Both were evacuated and rushed to Sub-District Hospital of Sopore. However, Bhat succumbed to injuries before reaching the hospital. The child was referred to SKIMS Soura for specialised treatment. Doctors attending Burhan said that they performed a surgery but the child’s condition was critical.
Officials described Bhat as a released militant of Jamiat-ul Mujahideen who had been working as small time contractor and had also a small fruit business. No militant group had claimed responsibility of his assassination till late on Friday night.
Residents said that the gunmen escaped but a hand grenade fell from their motorcycle which was later seized by Police.
Meanwhile, Defence Spokesman at headquarters 15 Corps of Army, Lt Col N.N Joshi, said that troops intercepted a group of heavily armed infiltrators in Kanzalwan area of Gurez, close to the LoC, around midnight last. He claimed that five militants were killed by Friday evening even as search was still underway for other members of the group.
An Army official said that it was an eight-member group of freshly launched infiltrators. Five AK-47 rifles are claimed to have been recovered from the site of operation.
Senior Police officials told STATE TIMES that five infiltrators were believed to have died in the gun-battle. However, bodies had not been recovered or handed over to Police till late on Friday night.
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