Heavy stone-pelting by protesters helped three top-ranking terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) outfit escape a security cordon in Hajin area of north Kashmir's Bandipora district early on Sunday, even as a policeman was killed in the heavy exchange of fire.
The terrorists, however, managed to escape and security forces were making efforts to track them down, they added. When firing in the area stopped, no militant body was recovered during searches at the site.
Indian officials say dozens of young people have joined the rebels since last July, when the killing of a popular rebel commander by security forces sparked months of deadly anti-India protests.
The troops of 45 Bn Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Special Operations Group (SOG) and 13 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) were carrying out a cordon and search operation (CASO) in the region, when the encounter broke out. "An SOG man of Jammu and Kashmir Police was killed in the initial fire", he said. "He succumbed to his injuries at an Army base hospital in Srinagar", a police officer in the district said.
Zaheer Abbas Khan is survived by aged parents, wife, three minor children, including ten-year-old Mehtab Zaheer, eight-year-old Manik Ahmad and five-year-old Sumaira Zaheer.