Security forces step up winter offensive against militants in Kashmir

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Stepping up their winter offensive, security forces have launched two major operations against the militants in the troubled south Kashmir region early Tuesday morning.

The fresh offensive comes 12 hours after security forces achieved major success when they repulsed the militant attack killing two Hizbul Mujhadeen ultras near a check point at Sultanpora Crossing in Zachaldara area of Kupwara district in north Kashmir on Monday evening.

Police sources said two groups of the militants are reported to be trapped in the cordon in Kulgam and Pulwama districts of south Kashmir. First encounter started at Now bug Kund village of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district when a joint team of army, police, and CRPF cordoned off the area following specific inputs about the presence of militants.

When the security forces were busy strengthening the cordon, the militants in the area fired on the troops triggering a gunfight. “Cordon and search turned into the encounter in Nowbug Kund, Qazigun in Kulgam. Police, Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF are on the job”, said a police spokesman.

Sources said at least two militants are believed to be trapped inside the village and security forces are engaged in a fierce gun battle to eliminate them at the earliest

Even as the security forces were busy flushing out the militants, there was another encounter reported from Laam area in the Burhan Wani’s home town of Tral in Pulwama district.

Police sources said the encounter broke out after security forces launched a joint operation in the the area. However, the militants hiding in the area opened fire triggering a gun fight between the two sides. “Encounter started in Laam Tral in Awantipora. Police, Army and CRPF on the job”, said the police spokesman.

This is the third encounter with militants in the last 12 hours in the Kashmir valley Two militants were eliminated in an operation in Handwara on Monday evening taking the toll of ultras killed in different encounters across Kashmir to 180 since January this year.

Sources said around 70 security force men too have lost their lives in the line of duty this year so far. This year so far, sources said 70 new ultras have been able to infiltrate into Kashmir. Last year estimated net infiltration (number of militants who managed to sneak in) was 112 compared to 33 in 2015. Similarly, estimated net infiltration was 65 in 2014 compared to 97 in 2013.

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