Security forces and terrorists exchanged gunfire in the early hours of Wednesday in the Tral area of Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir. The encounter comes just hours before Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to land in Srinagar to take stock of the security situation in the state.
A joint-team of security forces reportedly pinned down two to three terrorists in the forests in Tral and exchanged gunfire in an operation which is still underway. The security personnel have managed to surround the terrorists who had fled to the forested area in a bid to escape. One of the terrorists has been shot dead. Security forces are hunting the remaining terrorist(s) using drones.
" On a credible input, a cordon and search operation was launched jointly by police and security forces at Branpatri, forest area of Tral in Awantipora. During search operation, hiding terrorists fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter," J&K Police said in a statement.
The encounter is even more significant because it broke out on a day when Shah is to hold a high-level meeting in Srinagar to assess the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Shah and the BJP government have repeatedly highlighted their zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism and have vowed a tit-for-tat response to any nefarious action that would undermine India's peace, security and integrity.
Shah is scheduled to land in Srinagar on Wednesday afternoon in what would be his first visit to the state since taking charge as union minister. Here, he is also expected to take stock of preparations made for the Amarnath Yatra which, in the past, has faced terror threats.