Three local terrorists and a civilian woman were killed, while two Central Reserve Police Force personnel, including an officer, sustained injuries in a predawn gunbattle on Thursday in the Batamaloo area of Srinagar, officials said.
This takes the number of terrorists killed this year to 177 in 72 operations. The number includes 22 foreign terrorists.
Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Firdousabad locality in Batamaloo area at around 2.30 am following information about the presence of terrorists there, the officials said.
They said the search operation turned into an encounter after the terrorists opened fire on security forces.
A civilian, identified as Kaunsar Riyaz, 45, was killed in the firing, while two Central Reserve Police Force personnel, including an officer, were injured, the officials said.
The injured personnel were taken to hospital, they said.
Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said all the three terrorists killed in the encounter were locals from South Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference at the Police Control Room (PCR) Srinagar, the DGP said that in the early hours of the day, security forces, while acting on a lead, zeroed in on a house where the terrorists were hiding.
"They were given a chance to surrender, but they refused and fired. One CRPF officer and another CRPF man sustained injuries in the initial exchange of firing. The officer is critical and we are praying for his recovery," Singh said.
He added that the forces conducted the operation in a professional manner and killed all the three militants.
"However, a woman was caught in crossfire. Her death is very unfortunate, and we express sympathy with the bereaved family," the DGP said.
The officer was accompanied by IGP, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar and IG, CRPF, Srinagar sector, Charu Sinha.
"Arms and ammunition were recovered," he said.
Singh said terrorists from other districts of south and north Kashmir keep coming to Srinagar to carry out attacks on security forces.
"On August 14, they targeted our party and killed two policemen at Nowgam. Before that, they had killed two BSF men at Pandach on the city's outskirts. And then, they made another attempt at Pantha Chowk, where we lost a brave SOG man," the DGP said.
He said the police and CRPF teams are on alert, and whenever they get a lead about the presence of terrorists in the city, efforts are made to ensure zero collateral damage.
"Today's operation was the seventh one in Srinagar in the recent past," Singh added.
The Union Territory's police chief said 177 terrorists have been killed in 72 operations so far this year.
"In terms of peace, 2020 has been better on every parameter than 2019. So far this year, we have done 72 operations, in which 177 militants were killed, including 12 in Jammu," the DGP said.
He said 22 terrorists from Pakistan were among these 177, adding this 'shows Pakistan's direct involvement in terror activities'.
"Most of the terrorists working in outfits like Lashkar and Jaish are from Pakistan. I hope the way the forces are conducting the operations, we will achieve more successes on the peace-building and operations front," Singh said.
He said the endeavour of the security forces was to avoid collateral damage in every operation.
"We also give opportunity to the militants to surrender, even when there is exchange of firing. Also, we try to bring back those youth who have taken up the wrong path and we have achieved success on that front also, especially in south Kashmir.
"I think around 20 youth have been brought back and they have joined their families," the DGP said.
He appealed to the young people not to take the wrong path, saying it puts the society in danger.
"Where the gun or bullet or grenade reaches, there is loss of life, and we can avoid it only if we shun the path of terror and make way for peace.
"I think Pakistan does not lose an opportunity to instigate our youth and is trying to renew (militant) outfits like Al-Badr and create new ones like PAFF (People's anti-Fascist Front) and TRF (The Resistance Front).
"Pakistani agencies in Karachi are planning and executing these things and we condemn it. The youth here have a right to build their own lives and careers, but Pakistan's interference is there," Singh said.
Asked about the alleged assaults on media persons near the encounter sites, the DGP said it was unfortunate. Such things should not take place, he added.
"We do not support such acts and feel bad. But at times, during operations, our men have high temper which results in such incidents. There is overreaction sometimes, which I regret. However, there is no deliberate attempt. I reiterate that media and policemen are each other's good friends," he said.