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Four militants and two soldiers, including an elite para commando, were killed in two back-to-back encounters in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, officials said. The two gun battles in Kulgam broke out at a time when there is a heightened security across the J&K due to the ongoing Amarnath yatra that started on last Saturday from the twin tracks of Nunwan-Pahalgam route in Anantnag district and the Baltal route in Ganderbal district.

The pilgrims visiting the shrine through both routes have to cross Kulgam district. Officials said the first encounter erupted at Modergam Village of Kulgam when joint teams of forces were carrying out a cordon and search operation (CASO) in the area following an input about the presence of militants. “The CASO turned into a gun battle as the joint team of forces came under fire. In the initial exchange of fire, a soldier of the elite unit of Army was critically injured.

The injured soldier was shifted to a medical facility where he succumbed to his injuries,” a security officer said. The officer said additional forces were rushed to the area to ensure that militants don’t manage to break the cordon. J&K Police said that the operation was underway and forces were on job.

As the operation in Modergam village was going on , another gun battle broke out at Frisal Chinigam in Kulgam district. Officials said four militants have been killed in the operation so far and the firing was still going on. “Four bodies of Terrorists have been sighted at Chinigam and the firing is still coming from inside,” a senior security official said. Drone footage showed the bodies of four militants lying on the ground.