2 Hizbul militants attack police in Pulwama, killed
Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were on Sunday killed when they tried to ambush a police party that included three officers of the rank of superintendent of police in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.
The incident took place at Padgampura, a place located on the border of Awantipura and Pulwama districts in south Kashmir, 35 kms from here, when militants came from behind and started firing indiscriminately at the convoy of the officers, the police said.
The last vehicle was that of 32-year-old Chandan Kholi, posted as additional superintendent of police in militancy-hit Pulwama district, which bore the brunt of the attack.
Kholi, along with his guards, who were swiftly supported by senior superintendents of police of Awantipora and Pulwama Zahid Malik and Rayees Mohammed Bhat respectively, neutralised the two militants, they said.
The driver of the car, in which the two militants were travelling, escaped after the encounter broke out, the police said, adding a hunt has been launched to nab him to ascertain whether he was kidnapped or was part of an overground network of the militant group.
The top police officers of the district were returning after a meeting with the chief election officer in connection with the forthcoming by-polls to two Lok Sabha seats of Anantnag and Srinagar.
The police have seized two weapons, including a looted self-loading rifle (SLR), besides a hand grenade and some ammunition, Deputy Inspector General of Police (South Kashmir) S Pani said here.
The Padgampora area has witnessed several encounters in the past and is believed to be infested by militants associated with banned outfits such as the Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Pani, a seasoned police officer who has done credible work in controlling militancy in Shopian and Kulgam districts, lauded the role of the police personnel who quickly neutralised the two terrorists.
One of the slain militants has been identified as Shahbaz Safi Wani alias Rayees Kachru, who was active in the area since June, 2016.
Wani was involved in an attack on a security picket outside a minority camp at Tumlahall in Pulwama district, besides snatching two SLRs along with magazines, officials said.
The other one is a "recycled" militant, Farooq Ahmed Hurrah from Shopian, who had surrendered in 2010 and was out on parole.
On March 9, two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were killed in an encounter at Padgampora. A civilian was also killed in the incident.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Range, S J M Gillani said, "According to our officers at the spot, perhaps one militant managed to escape."