SRINAGAR: Suspected militants killed a BJP youth leader while two Army men were also shot dead in an encounter in the restive south Kashmir during which a militant was also gunned down last night.

Reports said intense clashes erupted today morning in Samboora village, where the encounter took place, with residents pelting stones at the forces deployed in the area. A complete shutdown is also being observed in Samboora and adjoining areas against the killing.

Officials said mobile internet and train services have been suspended today in Pulwama district of south Kashmir following the killing of two army soldiers and a suspected militant during a fierce encounter in Samboora village last night.

Police sources said a group of militants had taken refuge inside a residential house in the village which was cordoned off yesterday evening. In the initial exchange of gunfire, two Army soldiers were wounded while a militant was also killed.

“The soldiers, Suraj Singh Topal and Khushwa Pardipsingh, later succumbed to the injuries. The slain militant has been identified as Badar who worked for Jaish-e-Mohammad,” sources said, adding that two more militants managed to escape from the area after residents took to streets and started pelting stones at the forces.

“Residents of adjoining villages including Galender, Pampore and other areas marched to the encounter site and tried to disrupt the operation. Using the distraction, two more militants hiding in the village escaped,” sources said.

Earlier, the J&K Police recovered the body of Gowhar Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Bonagam village of Shopian district and the youth district president of BJP, from an orchard near Kiloora yesterday evening.

BJP national president Amit Shah took to twitter to condemn the killing, “Pained to learn about the brutal murder of our @BJYM district president Gowhar Ahmad in Shopian. My deepest condolences to his family.”

BJP’s national general secretary Ram Madhav tweeted: “Tragedy strikes at BJP. Gowhar Bhat, district youth president in Shopian in Kashmir killed by terrorists. Met me just three days ago in Srinagar.”

In another tweet, he said: “Body found with throat slit. Price we pay in our fight against terrorism. Deep condolences. These sacrifices make our determination stronger.”

The killing comes days after the body of a school teacher, Aijaz Ahmad Lone was found in Wathoo village of Shopian district on October 17 with similar wounds inflicted using a sharp weapon. Police is suspecting the involvement of militants in both cases.

Violence continues unabated in Kashmir with militants opening fire at a convoy of CRPF troopers in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, resulting in injuries to five troopers yesterday while the militants managed to escape from the area.

Although the appointment of the new interlocutor and former IB chief Dineshwar Sharma had raised hopes of a dialogue with the stakeholders of Kashmir dispute, the noises subsequently made by the BJP leaders on the mandate of the interlocutor has only aggravated the political uncertainty in the region.