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3 soldiers, 2 militants killed in Kashmir in separate incidents

3 soldiers, 2 militants killed in Kashmir in separate incidents
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Three soldiers died and two militants were killed in separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Friday, as the number of deaths, including that of civilians, since Sunday went up to 23 in the restive state.

Defence spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the two militants were killed and the soldier lost his life on Friday morning after a gun battle at Malganipora, Behrampora on the outskirts of the Sopore town. He identified the soldier as lance naik Brajesh Kumar of 22 Rashtriya Rifles.

“The bodies of the militants were handed over to police for identification,’’ he said.

Officials said the Indian Army and state police established a cordon around the village after inputs about the presence of militants in the village. They said the cordon and search operation turned into an encounter in which two unidentified militants and a soldier were killed.

Kalia said two more soldiers lost their lives in south Kashmir’s Tral and Anantnag areas.

“A soldier was killed and another injured in a standoff attack by militants on an army camp at Lurgam Tral late last night. The soldier was identified as sepoy Ngamsiamliana, who was from Mizoram and had joined the army five years ago,’’ he said.

The spokesperson said sepoy Rajinder Singh, who was injured during a stone pelting incident near Anantnag bypass trijunction on the national highway on Thursday evening, died on Friday.

“Around 6 pm, when the convoy was passing through the highway, few youths hurled stones at the vehicle and sepoy Rajinder got injured after being hit by a stone. He was shifted to army’s base hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,’’ he said adding Singh had joined the army in 2016 and belonged to Uttarakhand.

A senior police officer, however, denied that any incident of stone pelting took place in the area on Thursday evening.

Militants’ funerals

Police have identified the two militants, who were killed in an encounter at Aathora village in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Thursday, as Akeel Ahmad Sofi of Khanpora and Minajul Mohidin of BrathKalan in Sopore.

Sofi had joined militancy two months ago and Mohidin recently, they said. A police spokesperson said both the militants were responsible for several attacks in Sopore and Sangrama.

A shutdown was observed in Baramulla and Sopore towns against the killings of the local militants. A funeral was held for Sofi on Thursday morning at his native place in Baramulla, which was attended by many.

Police also identified all the four militants killed in Arwani on Thursday as locals. Sahir Makroo, Owais Ahmad Lone, Muzamil Magray and Amir Tantray were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen, they added.

Their funerals were held at their native villages in Kulgam and Anantnag districts.

Clashes erupted near the encounter site on Friday and police used tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters.

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