Militant, JCO among four killed in ongoing encounter in Jammu

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Chinnor, Jammu Aug 27 (UNI) One of the three heavily armed militants, who killed a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of Army and four others after sneaking into Jammu early today, was killed in an encounter here, while the operation was on to flush out the remaining militants holed up in a local's residence.

Security forces were trying to free some members of a family, held hostage in a house to reduce civilian casualties in the thickly populated locality, as people from the areas in the range of fire were shifted to safer places.

Meanwhile, five people, including three soldiers, were wounded in the terrorist strike, an official spokesman said.

Reports suggested that the three militants were travelling in an autorickshaw.

They killed a JCO at a check post in Bantalab area while travelling towards the city at around 0545 hrs. ''On the way militants shot one motorcyclist, identified as Joginder Kumar and a police sportsman, wounding him critically. He was lying in a pool of blood till he was shifted to the hospital,'' an eyewitness told UNI.

On reaching Chinnor, militants also shot dead the driver of the auto-rickshaw, identified as Hav Vijay Kumar, who had come to his home on leave and one, Nasib Singh. Some others, including labourers, were also injured in the militants' firing in the area, reports said.

They took people in Chinnor by surprise who were just getting up in the morning and took refuge inside different houses.

Heavy fire was exchanged between the militants and the army troops, who cordoned off the suspected houses.

Several people, including women and children, who were caught inside these houses, were rescued by the security forces by engaging the hidden militants in a gun battle.

Army troops took positions at strategic places, including the roof-tops of suspected houses from where the militants were firing.

''One militant has been killed by the forces, while the operation is in progress to nab the others,'' IGP Jammu K Rajendra told the newsperson covering the encounter.

One local septuagenarian, identified as Saras Ram, suffered a fatal shock due to booms of the guns and collapsed, official sources said.

Preparing for the final assault against the hidden militants, security forces shifted people from the nearby areas to safer zones.

These militants were suspected to be the same who had broken barbed fences and entered the Indian side from Kanachak area in the Akhnoor sector here yesterday.

The winter capital city has been put on high alert.

UNI VBH-VJ RSA DS1345

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