SRINAGAR — Army today said the youth killed in an anti-militancy operation in Tral area of Pulwama district yesterday was an overground worker of Hizbul Mujahideen, dismissing claims that he was a civilian.
An army spokesperson said the encounter in Buchoo forest area yesterday took place when a patrol party of the security forces came under fire from militants.
"One soldier suffered gun shot wound. The fire fight ensued with terrorists. Once the firing subsided, search of the area was undertaken from which a body along with two AK 47 rifles and war-like stores were recovered from the site. Later, the body was identified to be of listed overground worker Khalid Wani, brother of Burhan, Hizbul Mujahideen Commander, South Kashmir," the spokesperson said.
He said out of the two AK 47 rifles recovered from the site, one rifle was snatched from a policeman on August 8 last year.
"Three youths were also arrested from the area by police. Consequent to questioning of the arrested youth, it was learnt that Khalid had taken them with him to the place where Burhan and three other terrorists were hiding. Khalid left three youths little away from where he was meeting Burhan," he said.
The spokesperson said when the patrol party was fired upon, the youth ran towards the area where Army soldiers were located.
"They were allowed to move out of the site to safety. Later Jammu and Kashmir Police apprehended them for interrogation," he said, adding the operation is still in progress to pursue the escaped militants.
Protests erupted in Tral area this morning as local residents alleged that Khalid was innocent had no links with militancy.