Mir Zeeshan

Two Hizb militants killed in Khrew encounter

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Clashes erupted during funeral of slain militant Adnan at Badinath, Pulwama. Photo/Muneeb Ul Islam

Pulwama, Nov 29: Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, who police said were close aides of outfit commander Riyaz Naikoo, were killed Thursday in an encounter with government forces in Khrew area of Awantipora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Based on a credible input about presence of militants at Sharshali Khrew, a cordon and search operation was launched in the early hours of Thursday, a police official said.

He said as the searches were going on, government forces were fired upon by militants. The fire was retaliated, leading to a gunfight.

In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and their bodies retrieved from the site of encounter, he said.

The slain militants have been identified as Adnan Ahmad Lone alias Uqaab, son of Ghulam Mohammad Lone, resident of Braw Bandina, Awantipora, and Adil Bilal Bhat alias Umair al Hizbi, son of Bilal Ahmad Bhat, resident of Malangpora, Pulwama. “Both of them were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen,” the official said.

As per police records, Lone was self-styled district commander of Hizb for Pulwama.

“Lone was one of the top commanders of Hizb and a close associate of its commander Riyaz Naikoo and had escaped from an encounter site in Srinagar earlier,” he said.

Adil Bilal Bhat had joined militant ranks on October 07, 2017 and was also said to be close associate of Riyaz Naikoo, operational commander of Hizbul Mujahedeen outfit.

“Before joining militant ranks Adil was working as a computer teacher at Pulwama town in a private institute and then later switched  over to work as a accountant to a contractor at Awantipora airfield base,” said his neighbor.

Slain Adil’s father Bilal Ahmad Bhat is working as cop in Jammu and Kashmir Police.

When Adil had joined militant ranks last year, his mother had in a video message that had gone viral, pleaded him to shun the path he had chosen; but he (Adil) didn’t heed her requests.

Both militants were wanted by the law for their complicity in a series of militancy incidents including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities, a police official said.

“Bhat, being a close associate of Riyaz Naikoo, was also involved in many militancy incidents. Among other offences, he also figured in killing of Head Constable Ashiq Hussain at Awantipora in October 2017,” he said.

Incriminating material including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter, the official said.

Meanwhile, multiple rounds of funeral prayers were held for both the slain militants at their native places.

Witnesses said that three rounds of funeral prayers were held for Adnan Lone and four rounds for Adil Bhat.

They said that thousands of people took part in the funeral prayers held at their native villages.

Clashes were also reported from the native villages of slain militants.

Witnesses from Malangpora said clashes erupted between government forces and youth near railway track Awantipora where forces had laid a siege to stop people from participating in the last rites of the slain Adil.

According to a local from Bandina village, stone-pelting clashes erupted between youth and CRPF personnel when forces swung into action and snatched mobile phones and identity cards of many people.

Pertinently, more than two dozen militants have been killed in encounters with security forces over the past eight days.

Kashmir Images
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