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Militants, forces exchange fire in Shopian, Pulwama.

Militants and forces exchanged fire in separate incidents in Shopain and Pulwama districts in southern Kashmir on Monday, the police said.

A police official told  that a joint team of the army, special operations group of Jammu and Kashmir police and Central Reserve Police Force laid a siege around Sangran-Imamsahib village and started a search operation at 3pm following “specific information” about presence of militants there.

While the searches were on, militants opened fire on the forces, he said, adding that the forces returned the fire immediately, triggering a shootout that lasted “for a brief time”.

However, the militants, believed to be two to three in number, managed to escape, the official said, but added that the searches in the area continued for at least six hours.

Meanwhile, militants travelling in a car exchanged fire with army soldiers in Pulwama district after the latter signaled the driver to stop on Monday afternoon, the police said.

A police official said that at around 2 pm, an army patrolling party signaled driver of a car to stop in Jandwal village, but he refused to do so.

“However, militants travelling in the car opened fire on the soldiers. The fire was retaliated, leading to an exchange of fire,” the official said.

He said the militants managed to escape from the spot and that there was no immediate reports of any casualties or injuries on the either side.

“A search operation has been launched in the area to nab the militants,” the official said.

10 ARRESTED IN PULWAMA AREAS 

Police Monday claimed it busted two modules of HizbulMujahideen and Jaish-e-Muhammad militant outfits by arresting “10 of their associates” in Tral and Khrew areas of Pulwama district.

A police spokesman told  that a special team was constituted in view of recent “surge” in militant attacks in Tral. The investigation into the cases revealed their complicity in the recent attacks carried out in Tral outskirts, he said.

“A special team was constituted to investigate these cases and on the basis of material evidence collected, four persons identified as YounisNabiNaik son of GhulamNabiNaik resident of Pinglish, Fayaz Ahmad Wani son of GhulamMohi-ud-din Wani resident of Reshipora, Riyaz Ahmad Ganaie son of Muhammad RamzanGanaie resident of Nigeenpora and Bilal Ahmad Rather son of GhulamRasool resident of Nigeenpora were taken into custody,” he said.

The spokesman said that another module was busted in Khrew in which six “associates of proscribed outfit JeM were arrested, naming them as Javaid Ahmad Parray son of Muhammad Shaban resident of Bethan Khrew; Yasir Bashir Wani son of Bashir Ahmad Wani resident of BabaporaKhrew; Tahir Yousuf Lone son of Muhammad Yousuf Lone resident of Khrew; Rafiq Ahmad Bhat son of Ghulam Ahmad resident of SharshaliKhrew; Javaid Ahmad Khanday son of Ghulam Ahmad Khanday resident of Khrew and Imran NazirNajar son of Nazir Ahmad Najar resident of Mandakpal, Naimsaab, Khrew”.

“Huge quantity of incriminating materials was recovered from this module, including gelatin sticks, detonators, materials for making IEDs and grenades,” the spokesman added.

‘CHARGES BASELESS’

On the other hand, the families of the detainees denied their involvement in any unlawful activity. The charges they said leveled against these detainees are “concocted and totally baseless”.

“My son Tahir Yousuf Lone who is a truck driver was detained during midnight on 25th November from his home. His detention came into force after earlier a local militant Suhail Ahmad Lone was arrested by the forces in Bathin area of Khrew,” said Tahir’s father Muhammad Yousuf Lone, adding that Tahir was detained only because he had been a class fellow of Suhail in school.

“We got a chance to meet Tahir at police station Khrew. They had beaten him up ruthlessly,” said Lone.

‘NONE OF THEM INNOCENT’

Superintendent of police Awantipora Muhammad Zahid Malik told  that “None of them is innocent because they were assisting militants. We have lodged FIR against them and investigations are on.”

On November 26, militants attacked an army patrol in Pinglish but no loss of life or damage was reported from either side. Following the attack, government forces rushed to the spot and carried out searches in Pinglish, Cheribugh and Reshipora areas of Tral town.

The next morning, the forces killed a militant who was also a close associate of AnsarGhazwatul Hind chief Zakir Musa.

‘FEEL RESTLESS WITHOUT MY HUSBAND’

Meanwhile, Fahmeeda Akhtar delivered a baby girl at the sub-district hospital Tral on Monday, her second child, in a state of great anxiety. The child’s father was arrested, along with nine other persons, last Monday.Fahmeeda, who was breastfeeding the child, said, “Healthwise I am feeling alright but emotionally this has been an ordeal. Without my husband I feel restless.”

“He is a labourer and sole bread earner in our family. How do I deal with my condition without him? Who will bring food, medicines and clothes for me and the newborn,” she said and broke down.

Fahmeed’s husband, YounisNabiNaik (28), was last Monday detained by the police from his house in Pinglish hamlet of Tral, a day after militants attacked an army patrol in the area. He is one of the 10 persons arrested during raids in Khrew and Tral townships of police district Awantipora.

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