Naik-Mohalla (Tral) Encounter: The Complete Story

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by Umar Khurshid

SRINAGAR: Usually locals are the first who get to know about the encounter when counter-insurgent forces and militants exchange fire in a gun battle. This time, however, it was around 8:23 PM, when Jammu and Kashmir Police broke the news on their official twitter handle that exchange of fire between the counterinsurgency forces and militants in Naik Mohalla of Tral-e-Payeen in south Kashmir is going on.

On Monday evening, on the tip of specific information, a mixed contingent of counter-insurgent forces that include army’s 42-Rashtriya Rifles, Special Operations Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police and 180 battalions of Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) launched a cordon and search operation in the Naik Mohalla of Tral. Police said as the forces intensified searches, hiding militants opened fire, leading to a gunfight.

The remains of the residential house in which an encounter took place in Naik Mohalla of Tral in south Kashmir on March 5, 2019, KL image by Rehmani Sameer

However, wishing anonymity, a local resident who lives near the site of the encounter said that they didn’t hear any sound of the firing till the dawn prayer (Fajr prayers), though the entire belt was under a tight cordon. Apart from Naik Mohalla,  Mir Mohalla and Reshipora was also cordoned off.

“We didn’t hear anything till we fall asleep, but the media reports in the morning confirmed us the killing of two militants,” the resident said.

Next morning, on Tuesday, the police said a night-long gunfight ended with the killing of two militants identified as Adfar Fayaz Parray, son of Fayaz Ahmad Parray, a resident of Gulshanpora Tral and Irfan Ahmad Rather, son of Ghulam Hassan Rather, a resident of Shariefabad Tral.

A group of people standing near the debris of the house which was razed on the ground during an encounter  in Naik Mohalla Tral on March 05, 2019, KL image by Rehmani Sameer

As soon as the news of the killing of two militants spread, people especially youth started running towards the encounter spot. However, when the people were stopped near the site, they clashed with the police. Later, in a day scores of the youth appeared near the police station Tral and CRPF located near four-way Naibasti area and pelted stones on the police and paramilitary men who were deployed outside their stations.

According to locals, the gunfight erupted in Mir-Mohalla at the residential house of Abdul Rehman Naik, whose house went up in smoke during the gun-battle. “Besides Naik’s house, many adjoining houses sustained the damage,” a local resident told this reporter.

Police said that a local resident identified as Farooq Ahmad Malik, who according to police lives nearby was injured in the gunfight. Soon after the incident, Malik was shifted to Srinagar hospital for the treatment and is said to be stable now. However, police did not reveal further details regarding the circumstances in which Malik sustained the injuries.

Police said the slain duo was affiliated with Hizbul Mujahedeen outfit. They were also involved in conspiring and executing several militant attacks and were wanted by the law for their complicity in a series of “terror crimes” including an attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities. Several “terror-related” cases were registered against them for their militant activities,” the police spokesman said.

He said arms and ammunition including rifles were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other cases.

Police statement

Police issued a detailed statement about the encounter. It is being published verbatim:

“Based on a credible input about the presence of terrorists in Reshipora area of Tral in district Awantipora, a cordon and search operation was jointly launched yesterday evening by Police and security forces in the area.

As the searches were going on, the terrorists fired upon the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight.

In the ensuing encounter, 02 terrorists were killed and the bodies were recovered from the site of encounter. The two killed terrorists have been identified as Adfar Fayaz Parray son of Fayaz Ahmad Parray resident of Gulshanpora Tral and Irfan Ahmad Rather son of Ghulam Hassan Rather resident of Shariefabad Tral.

The site of an encounter in Naik Mohalla Tral  KL image by Rehmani Sameer

Moreover, an individual in a nearby area identified as Farooq Ahmad Malik resident of Tral was injured. He was shifted to hospital for medical treatment and stated to be stable.

According to the police records, the killed terrorists were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit HM. They were involved in conspiring and executing several terrorist attacks and were wanted by the law for their complicity in a series of terror crimes including an attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities. Several terror crime cases were registered against them for their terrorist activities.

Arms & ammunition including rifles were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other terror cases.

Police have registered a case and initiated an investigation in the matter. Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.

Citizens are once again requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any.”

Separatist Reaction

Reacting to the gunfight, the JRL leaders comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik paid tributes to the slain duo.  While condemning the forces action, the leadership strongly condemned the use of “live ammunition” against the people.

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