A police spokesman said that acting on a specific information, Shopian police along with 03 RR, 14 Bn and 177 Bn CRPF, on Saturday, launched a cordon and search operation at Awneera village in the jurisdiction of Police Station Zainapora, Shopian.
J&K’s Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid has said that there would be no let up in the tough campaign and reiterated that the youth who have taken up the gun have been left with only two options now – either to return to their homes or get killed in the counterinsurgency operations.
However, about two dozen security personnel too have laid down their lives while fighting militancy, official sources said.
The two other Hizb militants killed in the clash have been identified as Irfan-ul-Haq and Umar Majeed Mir.
“During the search operation, militants hiding in the area fired upon the joint search party”. In a statement, Hizb Chief Salah-ud-din said that Itoo was killed when he fell from a mountain while being on “operational duties”. The killed militant has been identified as Yaseen Itoo, who was said to be close to Burhan Wani, another terrorist who was killed previous year by security forces. The bodies of the terrorists have been recovered.
Itoo, a resident of Nagam in Chadoora Budgam was one of the longest serving militants. As the security personnel approached, Ittoo and his men opened fire, wounding five Army personnel, two of whom were later martyred. Umer Majeed Mir was involved in grenade attack on security forces at Yaripora and many firing incidents including Yaripora and Kanjikullah.
Army pays tribute to its valiant martyrs The Army on Sunday paid fitting tribute to the two soldiers who were killed during the Shopian encounter. He was also involved in bank robbery case of PS Yaripora. He and his associates were involved in the killing of shopkeeper resident of Heff and Adv. Imtiyaz Ahmad Khan resident of Pinjora. Around a dozen stone-pelters were also injured after security forces had to resort to firing pellets after tear gas shells failed to deter them, said a doctor at a hospital.
Reports said that forces resorted to aerial firing as they were leaving the encounter site.
The official further said that the cordon and search operation was still going on in the area.
The dead soldiers were identified as Sepoy Ilayaraja P, a resident of Tamil Nadu, and Sepoy Gawai Sumedh Waman from Maharashtra.