Army Claims 5 Killed in Encounter Foreign Militants, Family Says One Their Missing Son
Langate Shuts Down
SRINAGAR: A complete shutdown is being observed in north Kashmir’s Langate area after a family claimed that one of the suspected militants killed in Rafiabad encounter on Thursday, whom security forces identified as a foreigner, was their missing son.
Sources said the family of Bashir Ahmad Mir, a resident of Langate, approached the police yesterday and claimed that one among the five ‘militants’ killed in gunfight in Rafiabad forests was their missing son, Muzaffar Ahmad Mir.
Mir, according to police, had filed a missing complaint in connection with the disappearance of his son on August 6 at Langate police station. “We are verifying their claim. That is all I can say at the moment,” a senior police officer, adding that the police will exhume the body and carry out DNA test of the deceased.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown is being observed in Langate and its adjoining villages after the news of a local youth’s killing spread in the district. Witnesses said all shops and business establishments are closed while public transport remains off roads.
The Army on Thursday claimed to have gunned down five militants during a fierce gunfight in Rafiabad forests of the frontier Kupwara district. The army had claimed that all the slain were foreigners and affiliated with Lashkar-e-Taiba militant outfit.
A para commando of the Army was injured in the firefight that broke out after a joint team of army's 32 RR and 9 PARA commandos launched a cordon-and-search operation in the dense woods of upper reaches of Rafiabad.
“The type of weapons seized from the slain militants indicate that they belong to Lashkar outfit. We don’t know the exact number of militants who had recently managed to infiltrate. However, all the five militants were part of the recently infiltrated group. The past operations carried out in the area against militants had shown the signatures of LeT militants in the area,” Brigadier Dharam Raj Rai told media in Handwara on Thursday after the encounter.
However, in a statement to a local news agency, the Lashkar claimed to have gunned down eight commandos of the Army during the encounter. “A handful of our armed youth engaged the combined strength of forces in Rafiabad gunfight. These youth were able to inflict substantial damage on the forces, as a result of which planners were forced to deploy special para Commandos along with many more force,” LeT spokesman Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi said in a statement, “In a two- day long gunfight eight para commandos were killed.”