In a major success for security forces, five Hizbul Mujahideen militants including a top commander and a fresh recruit -- a university professor -- were killed in an encounter in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir today, even as one civilian died during clashes between protestors and law enforcing agencies near the encounter site, police said.
The encounter in south Kashmir broke out after security forces launched cordon and search operation in Badigam village in Zainapora area of the south Kashmir district following specific information about the presence of militants in the area.
During the encounter at Badigam village in Shopian, five terrorists of outlawed Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) were neutralized, a police spokesman said here.
The spokesman said the identities of the slain militants are being ascertained.
Today's success comes less than 24 hours after security forces killed three militants in a gunbattle in Chattabal area in the heart of the city yesterday.
Official sources said top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Saddam Padder and a Kashmir University assistant professor Mohammad Rafi Bhat are among the slain militants.
The other militants killed in the gunbattle are Tauseef Shiekh, Aadil Malik and Bilal alias Molvi, all residents of south Kashmir.
Bhat, a contractual assistant professor in the Sociology department of the university, went missing on Friday.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir S P Pani said the police made repeated attempts to to persuade the professor to surrender, but to no avail.
After receiving the input about his presence there, we brought his family from Ganderbal to persuade him to surrender, Pani said.
Two police officials and an Army personnel also suffered minor injuries during the gunbattle, a police official said.
He said incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, have been recovered from the encounter site.
Massive clashes broke out between groups of stone-pelting youth and security forces near the encounter site, leading to injuries to five protestors, the official said.
He said a civilian Asif Ahmad Mir, a resident of Rahmoo Pulwama - received bullet injury on his head during the clashes and was rushed to SMHS hospital here where he succumbed later.
However, a police spokesman said Mir was injured in the cross-firing during the encounter.
Kashmir University has suspended class work for two days from tomorrow as a precautionary measure and postponed all examinations scheduled to be held tomorrow.
Mobile Internet services have been suspended in south Kashmir districts and Ganderbal in central Kashmir, while the facility remained barred in Srinagar for the second consecutive day today.