Scores injured as clashes erupt near gunfight site, students stage protest

Top LeT commander among two militants killed in Budgam encounter
Srinagar: A top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander and โ€˜prime suspectโ€™ of Editor-in chief of daily English Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari was among the two militants who were killed in encounter that raged between forces and militants in Kuthpora Chattergam area of Central Kashmirโ€™s Budgam district, police said.

However, three Army men had also sustained injuries in the gunfight.
Police said that โ€œa cordon and search operation was jointly launched by Police and security forces in the predawn hours today based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Kuthpora Chattergam area. As the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the hiding militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight.โ€
โ€œIn the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. Among the two militants, one has been identified as Naveed Jatt alias Hanzalla who was known as commander of LeT,โ€ police said, adding that he was wanted by law for his complicity in a series of crimes including killing of noted journalist Shujaat Bukhari, attacks on security establishments and many other civilian atrocities.
โ€œAs per his earlier disclosure, Naveed Jatt alias Hanzalla was born in Multan Pakistan. He was part of Ajmal Kasabโ€™s group at a Madrassa in Pakistan where he had undergone arms training. As per police records, in October 2012, Naveed Jatt along with his associates had crossed over into the valley of Kashmir. He had a long history of terror crime records since 2012. He was involved in killing of an ASI in Pulwama on May 2013, series of grenade attacks on security forces and was involved in killing of CRPF personnel at Awneera Shopian in August 2013,โ€ police said.
โ€œBesides, he was also involved in conspiring and executing several bank robberies and terror attacks in South Kashmir including attack on Court Complex Pulwama on March 2014 in which two policemen were killed, attack on polling party in Shopian on April 2014 in which several civilians sustained injuries and one presiding officer namely Zai-ul-Haq Wani was killed, attack on police party at Bongam Shopian on June 2014 in which several civilians and policemen were injured.,โ€ he said.
Naveed was arrested by police in June 2014, however, he managed to escape from the custody in the month of February 2018 while he was being taken to SMHS hospital Srinagar for medical treatment from Central Jail Srinagar.
โ€œIn a shootout that took place at the hospital two policemen were killed. He also figured as a suspect in case FIR No. 51/2018 in P/S Kothi Bagh pertaining to the assassination of Shujaat Bukhari and his security personnel,โ€ police said, adding that the case, which is under investigation, a hue and cry notice was issued against Naveed Jatt and three others on the basis of material evidence collected.
โ€œIncriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken for case records and probe their complicity in other cases. Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter,โ€ police said, adding that since Jatt is a Pakistani national, following the procedure competent authorities shall be approached in Govt of India for taking up the matter with Pakistan for handing over his body to them.
Police said that citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. โ€œPeople are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any,โ€ police added.
Director General of Police (DGP), Dilbagh Singh later in a presser said that the Jattโ€™s killing was a big success as the atrocities on civilians were being committed on his directions.
Meanwhile, scores of people sustained injuries during the clashes that erupted near the gunfight site in Budgam today.
The injured persons as per reports were shifted to hospital for medical treatment.
Meanwhile, the students of Kashmir University, IUST Awantipora and GDC Bemina staged a protest over the killing of two militants including a top LeT commander today.
Scores of Kashmir University students a protest in the varsity campus and marched through the varsity campus while raising pro freedom slogans.
The students, reports said, also held funeral prayers in absentia for the slain militant commander.
Scores of students of Government Bemina Degree College and IUST Awantipora as well held protest demonstration against the killings.
Witnesses said that the students of GDC Bemina raised โ€œpro-freedom and anti-Indiaโ€ slogans and marched through the campus and onto the main road.
The students also pelted stones on the forces. However, the witnesses said, the government forces did not retaliate to the protesting students before they went back to the campus raising slogans.



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