SRINAGAR: A day ahead of the union home minister Rajnath Singh's visit to the state, two militants have been killed in an encounter with government forces in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.

According to police officials, a joint team of Army and J&K Police cordoned Malwari village in Newa area Thursday morning following inputs about the presence of militants in the area.

"As the forces began search operation in the area, the militants, believed to be two to three in number, opened fire on the forces, sparking the encounter during which the two sides exchanged gunfire at each other," a senior police official said.

According to witnesses, as the encounter was going on, a large crowd of locals, comprising of men and women, tried to march towards the site of gun battle and also pelted stones at the forces.

"However, our forces exercised maximum restraint while dealing with the protesters. Mild use of force was put into service to disperse the protesters who tried to approach the site of encounter and help the militants in escaping," the police official said.

Police said two suspected militants were killed in the encounter. The identity of the slain militants has not been ascertained so far with police officials claiming that two policemen were also injured in the attack

"The bodies of both the militants have been recovered from the site of the encounter and their identity is being verified. The condition of two cops wounded in firing is stable," SSP Pulwama, Rayees Ahmad Bhat said.

The encounter comes a day ahead of the union home minister Rajnath Singh's visit to the state following the highway attack on CRPF in which eight CRPF personnel were killed while nearly two dozen were wounded.

A team of MHA has already landed in the state to review the security scenario where attacks against government forces have seen a significant spike over the last two months. The team has held deliberations with the state's security agencies on measures to be taken to prevent such attacks in future.

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