Srinagar, June 27: A Hizb-ul Mujahideen militant involved in the murder of a National Conference leader was today killed in a gun battle along with another senior militant commander in south Kashmir.
An army captain and a soldier were also injured in the encounter that started last evening at Shikargah in Tral area.
A police spokesperson identified the slain militants as Muzaffar Ahmad Malla, the Hizb divisional commander for south Kashmir, and Suhail Khan.
Suhail was involved in the killing of Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din, the National Conference block president in Pinglish Tral on March 30, the spokesperson said. The killing came days before the start of the panchayat polls and was apparently carried out to force a boycott. But it did little to prevent a massive turnout.
Muzaffar Malla had taken over as Hizbs divisional commander for south Kashmir after the death of Sajjad Ahmad on April 5, the police said.
Mohammad Irshad, the Awantipore police chief, said a police party had laid a cordon around three houses in the village last evening on specific information about the presence of a group of militants.
As the police party was establishing itself, it came under fire from a house belonging to one Muhammad Yousuf Bhat. The cordon was tightened around that house and militants were told to surrender but they fired again, he said.
Soon after, 42 Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF troopers joined the operation that was suspended for the night, he said.
When the operation resumed this morning, the militants were again told to surrender but they paid no heed. Around 8.30am, they opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in an encounter in which two militants were killed, Irshad said.
The police said two army troopers, including a captain, had also been injured. Two AK 47 rifles, four AK 47 magazines, fourteen rounds of AK 47 ammunition, one under-barrel grenade launcher and two Chinese grenades were recovered from the site.