SRINAGAR: Two militants were killed and over 20 civilians and two army men were injured during an encounter and protests in Kundalan area of Shopian in southern Kashmir on Tuesday morning.

Jammu and Kashmir police chief S P Vaid confirmed that the encounter concluded, and dead bodies of two militants were recovered from the spot. He claimed that this was a Jaish-e-Muhammad group.

When the operation started, armed forces believed that two to three militants were trapped at the spot. Intense clashes are going on between armed forces and civilians as they attempted to break the cordon and rescue militants from the spot in the morning.

As soon as the news of encounter spread Muhammad Ishaq Naikoo, a resident of Meemander village of Shopian, suffered heart attack, fearing that his son Zeenat who recently joined the militant ranks was among the militants trapped in the cordon. He was declared brought dead at the hospital.

The government also suspended mobile Internet and broadband services in Shopian to avoid any flow of information. The Internet was restored in south Kashmir on Monday after four days in wake of killing of three civilians in Kulgam last week and death anniversary of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani falling on July 8.

“Over 20 people were injured during the clashes. Five of them have suffered bullet and pellet injuries and referred to hospitals in Srinagar,” a senior police official told ET.

The operation started on wee hours of Tuesday, when a joint team Army’s 34 RR, Special Operation Group of J&K police and CRPF, acting on a tip-off regarding presence of militants launched a crackdown in Kundalan village triggering an encounter.

Earlier on June 22, six people, including four militants, one policeman and a civilian were killed in an encounter in Srigufwara village of Anantnag district in southern Kashmir. On June 19, three Jaish-e-Muhammad militants were killed in an encounter in Tral area of southern Kashmir.

The armed forces resumed Operation All Out aimed at wiping out militancy from the state, after unilateral Non Initiation of combat operations for the holy month of Ramazan. In 2018, till now around 220 people including 110 militants, 62 civilians and 48 police, army and paramilitary personnel were killed.

The J&K state is under Governor rule, as the BJP pulled out of the alliance with PDP on June 19, following the resignation of Mehbooba Mufti, as chief minister of the state. The BJP reasoned that the lawlessness was prevailing in the Valley and Governor rule was the only option to bring back peace and normalcy.