Terrorists deliberately targeted civilians in an escape bid during an encounter between militants and security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, officials said on Tuesday.
The army said that based on an input of likely presence of terrorists in Pandoshan, located approximately 4 km southeast of Chaudhary Gund in Shopian, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by the army and J&K police on Monday evening.
“At 8.30 p.m., when our teams were establishing a cordon around the target house, the terrorists started firing indiscriminately in all directions in an attempt to breach the cordon, thereby putting the lives of civilians at great risk,” the army said.
“Sensing grave threat to the lives of the civilians, our teams commenced civilian evacuation from the operation site despite being heavily fired upon by the terrorists. The terrorists, sensing being cornered, started firing on the civilians in order to create chaos to assist them in their escape bid.
“However, the security forces were successful in evacuating majority of the civilians to a safe location. But due to incessant and targetted fire from the terrorists, one soldier, Lance Naik Sanjib Das, and two civilians, Shahid Gani Dar and Suhaib Ahmad, received gunshot wounds.”
All the injured were immediately evacuated in an army helicopter and taken to the 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar.
“Despite timely medical intervention and best efforts of the doctors, Shahid Gani Dar succumbed to his injuries. The other injured civilian, Suhaib Ahmad, is reported to be critical. Lance Naik Sanjib Das is stable and out of danger,” the army said.
“Taking advantage of the cover of the dark, the terrorists managed to escape the operation site. Security forces have intensified their search to nab the terrorists,” it added.