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With JeM commander’s killing, toll reaches two

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Shopian encounter continues on 3rd day as fresh firing breaks out

Srinagar: Fresh firing erupted on Monday between militants and security forces in Shopian district of south Kashmir where a top commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit was among two militants killed in the operation that entered its third day, police said.

Fresh contact has been established with the third militant at Rawalpora in Shopian, a police officer said.

Earlier in the day, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar said the security forces achieved a major breakthrough by killing a top commander of Jaish who was operating under the nom de guerre of Sajad Afghani.

Kumar congratulated the security forces for killing Afghani.

Vilayat Ahmad Lone alias Sajjad Afghani, one of the most wanted militants in Kashmir, was killed in fresh exchange of fire with security forces on Monday, police said.

According to police records, Wani was active since September last year and was involved in several militancy related cases including attacks on security forces and civilian atrocities.

Police said several cases were registered against him and he was wanted by law for his complicity in these cases including Case FIR No. 304/2018 PS Shopian pertaining to “terrorising the people so as to keep them away from Panchayat polls” and setting on fire a Panchayat Ghar at Kanji-ullar.

“Case FIR No. 307/2018 PS Shopian was registered against him for barging into the houses of police personnel, abducting and killing of SgCt Nisar Ahmad, Firdous Ahmad and SPO Kulwant Singh. Case FIR No. 343/2018 PS Shopian regarding attack on 34 RR camp at Matribugh. Case FIR No. 362/2018 PS Shopian regarding abduction and killing of civilian Suhail Ahmad Ganai. Case FIR No. 35/2019 PS Shopian regarding killing of SPO Khusboo Jan and Case FIR No. 45/2019 PS Shopian regarding abduction and killing of civilian Tanveer Ahmad Dar,” a police spokesperson said.

Police spokesperson said security forces had launched an operation on Saturday night based on specific input generated by Shopian Police regarding presence of militants in Rawalpora village.

“As the presence of militants got ascertained they were given opportunity to surrender, however, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter,” the spokesperson said.

Arms and ammunition including US-made M4 Carbine rifle and other incriminating materials were recovered from the site of encounter, the spokesperson said.

“During the encounter, three houses caught fire while a group of miscreants tried to disrupt the operation and created law and order problem near the encounter site during which some miscreants were also injured,” he added

Meanwhile, IGP Kashmir and GoC Victor Force conducted aerial monitoring of the operation and law and order situations at the encounter site, spokesperson said.

He said the last rites of the killed militants will be performed after conducting their medico-legal formalities and their nearest family members will be allowed to participate in their last rites.

“People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any,” spokesperson said.

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