Srinagar: The counter-insurgency operation against Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) chief Zakir Musa continued for an eighth hour in Dadsara village of south Kashmir’s Tral sub-district as intermittent gunfight raged in the area.
There was still no confirmation about the fate of the militants, whose number is not known, even as the gunfight that begun at 7 pm continued at 1 am.
The social media accounts linked to AGH had confirmed the presence of Musa inside the hideout in Dadsara and also urged the people to rush to the village.
The local residents said that heavy firefight erupted in the village immediately after government forces and policemen cordoned off the house where they suspected Musa was hiding.
Despite initial reports that Musa was killed, no police official confirmed it.
Musa, a resident of Noorpora village of Tral, was the chief of Islamist organisation AGH which he founded after splitting from Hizbul Mujahideen in July 2017. He has remained one of the most elusive and also the most wanted militant in the region in recent years.
Immediately after the news spread that Musa has been trapped in a cordon, protests erupted across Kashmir valley including in the city here. There were also reports that hundreds of youth from different districts rushed to Dadsara.
The local residents said that they heard a massive blast at around 11 pm following which there was a lull in firefight. The sources said the efforts were made to launch a search of the house after the blast but so far no body was found.
The local residents said that they heard fresh gunshots after midnight which suggested that the gunfight was still continuing. There were also unconfirmed reports that militants may have shifted to a nearby house and firing intermittently.
The authorities ordered an immediate shutdown of internet services across Kashmir valley after the encounter began as tension mounted in the region amid fears of widespread protests.
Additional forces from adjoining districts have been deployed in the area to prevent militants from escaping while protests were reported to continue in the village.