Government forces used rocket launcher during Kulgam gunfight: IGP

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Police and army used rocket launcher during a gunfight with militants along Srinagar-Jammu highway near Malpora crossing Kulgam last night, officials said on Friday. Two drones also were destroyed by militants during the gunfight, they said.

“Government forces were fully prepared. When BSF convoy passed (around 1430 hours), militants started indiscriminate firing from a huge building, there were no injuries. Security forces completely encircled the militants. Encounter ensued. I along with GOC Victor Force reached there. We used rocket launchers and neutralized the militant during the night,” Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said on the sidelines of a function here, as per GNS correspondent.

Police in a statement issued later said the decision to use rocket launcher was taken as target building was a huge and concrete structure. “Drones were used to keep updating situation inside building. During this process two drones were destroyed by the (militant). All precautions were followed to stop collateral damages.”

Meanwhile, the IGP said that it was difficult to carryout search during the night and in the morning, body of Usman Bhai, “a Pakistan (militant) who was active from last 6 months.” He said huge quantity of arms and ammunition including Ak-47 along with three magazines, RPG launcher and two grenades were recovered from his possession. “The recoveries indicates how big strike the militants were upto,” he said, adding, “After a long time RPG was used by militants.”

The top police officer of Kashmir said Police and security forces averted a major tragedy from happening. “I am proud of police and security forces,” he said.
Police said two security forces personnel received injuries during the encounter whereas two civilians were injured “far away from the site by stray projectiles.”

22 civilians including shopkeepers, elderly, women and children were also evacuated to safety by the security forces, police said.

“The preliminary investigations, recoveries and the manner of engagement by the (militant) suggest that attack was a pre-planned one and intended to inflict considerable damage to the security forces to disrupt schedules functions of 15th August and spread fear amongst general public,” police said, adding, “Joint teams of SFs were successful in averting a major tragedy before the Independence Day.”

IGP Kashmir and GoC Victor Force jointly termed it a “big success, appreciated the alertness and appreciate action which led to killing of hardcore Pakistani (militant) without collateral damage to our men and civilians.”

Earlier, the IGP while responding to a question said there were general input from last one that militants were planning to carry out attack on highway, whether on Baramulla-Srinagar road, or between Pathachowk and Qazigund.

“As such security forces were very much alert. See the response, the militants fired, it was retaliated and militants were not allowed to flee.”
He said security has been increased everywhere in view of the August 15 function. “People are being searched and frisked.

Surveillance is done through drones. We are doing technical surveillance,” he said, adding, “There will be incident-free functions on August 15 and people are requested that there is nothing to fear. Pakistan continues instigating militants as in the past and now to carry militant incident. People need not to fear and participate in functions.” (GNS)

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