The funeral of 14 year old, Mudasir Rashid Parray in Hajin area of North Kashmir. Mudasir was the youngest recruit of Lashkar-e-Taiba in KashmirMuhammad Yaseen/Twitter

Mudasir Rashid Parray, 14, and 16-year-old Saqib Shiekh from Hajin area of Jammu and Kashmir's Bandipora district, who were recruited by Lashkar-e-Taiba in September, were among the three militants killed in an overnight encounter with security forces in Murjgund area in the outskirts of Srinagar on Sunday.

Mudasir was the youngest recruit from Kashmir and was missing from his house since August.

Both Mudasir and Saqib were neighbours and friends. Their families only came to know about them joining militant groups after their pictures wielding AK-47 guns went viral.

The killing of teenage militants has, however, sparked criticism in the valley from mainstream political leaders as well as separatists.

Peoples Conference president Sajad Lone tweeted, "The killing of a fourteen year old is sad and scary. The administration should exhaust all non military options when a minor is involved. calling off such an operation is a better option. And the involvement of minors in non state military activity merits thought from the society."

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson Waheed Para, while condemning the killings of young local militants, said: "More lives we lose- the more peace we lose. Under the 'militant' tag, today a 14-year-old Mudassir Parrey of Hajin Bandipore silenced. How tragic situation is becoming-losing our younger generation to the bullets."

The J&K Police, on the other hand, expressed its helplessness in getting these young boys to surrender even after repeated appeals by their respective parents to get back home.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Bandipora, Shiekh Zulfikar Aazad told Firspost that they had been trying to track down both Mudasir and Saqib for past three months but could not until they got killed on Sunday in an encounter. The third militant who got killed was a Pakistani militant named Ali.