Srinagar: All the seven separatist guerrillas killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district were Pakistani nationals belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit, army and the state police said yesterday.
In a joint press conference at Lalpora (Lolab) village of Kupwara, counter-insurgency Rashtriya Rifles’ Kilo Force commander Maj Gen S K Sunny and Deputy Inspector General of Police (North Kashmir) J P Singh said the seven guerrillas shot dead in Dardpora forest area of Kupwara were Pakistanis.
There were protests and clashes in Kupwara town as locals demanded to see the bodies of the slain guerrillas to ensure they were not local civilians, but these came to an end after authorities handed over the bodies of the slain guerrillas for burial.
“Police fired tear gas and warning shots in the air to disperse the angry crowd that was hurling rocks at them,” a police officer said on condition of anonymity.
A local resident, Manzoor Ahmed, said by phone that a bullet wounded one villager before paramilitary reinforcements were called in to control the situation.
“Due to high altitude and heavy snow, our men faced difficulties to track and crack these militants. However, we finally managed to neutralise seven of them,” said Maj Gen Sunny.
He said the slain guerrillas were not part of any recently infiltrated group, but were active for a long time in the local forest areas.
The slain guerrillas were carrying Pakistani documents which proved that they were not locals, but foreigners, he added.
J P Singh said the bodies were handed over to the local Auqaf Committee for burial. AGENCIES