4 militants killed in encounters in Anantnag and Shopian
Srinagar: Four more militants from Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and al-Badr outfits, including those involved in the killing of an off-duty Territorial Army soldier on Friday, were killed on Sunday in two encounters with security forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Shopian districts, police said.
With this, the death toll in the encounters that began on Saturday in Anantnag and Shopian has climbed to five as one militant was killed in the initial exchange of fire yesterday.
Towseef Ahmad Bhat, son of Mohammad Ramzan, a resident of Takia Maqbool Shah Bijbehara, and Aamir Hussain Ganie, son of Abdul Rashid, a resident of Goriwan Bijbehara, linked to the LeT, were killed at village Semthan in the Bijbehara area of Anantnag district after they refused to surrender and fired indiscriminately on a search party, the police said.
“Both of them were wanted in many cases including the killing of an off-duty Territorial Army soldier Mohammad Saleem Akhoon near his home in Goriwan Bijbehara on Friday. They were also wanted in the case of an attack on a CRPF party in which a CRPF jawan was killed,” an official said.
The security forces rescued all the civilians trapped in the area and halted the operation for the night, he added. In the wee hours, the operation was resumed and both the militants were killed, the official said.
“These militants were also involved in threatening and intimidating the civilian population of the area and enticing young boys to join militant ranks,” he said.
According to police records, Bhat was active since 2017 and Ganie had joined the militant ranks in the year 2018.
“Terrorists responsible for the killing of Army jawan have been neutralised within two days in Bijbehara encounter,” Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said.
Arms and ammunition, including two AK series rifles, were recovered from the site. The IGP said one of the slain militants in the Shopian encounter was newly recruited into the militant ranks and security forces made sincere efforts to persuade him to surrender, but the other militants did not allow him.
“Parents also made appeals, but other terrorists didn’t let him surrender,” Kumar said.
He identified the slain militants as Aasif Ahmad Ganai and Faisal Gulzar Ganai — both residents of Chitragam Kalan. The identity of the third militant is yet to be ascertained.
Police sources said Faisal was a minor and had recently joined the militant ranks.
Giving details of the operation, the police official said security forces launched the cordon and search operation in the orchards of Reban Bandpawa area after receiving specific input about the presence of militants there Saturday evening.
He said the militants were given an opportunity to surrender. However, they fired indiscriminately upon the search party of the forces.
“In the initial retaliatory firing, one militant was killed. But the operation was suspended to give the trapped militants another chance to surrender,” the official said.
“The forces exercised maximum restraint and facilitated the presence of family members of a holed-up militant Faisal Gulzar to the encounter site to persuade him to surrender,” the IGP said.
“However, despite repeated appeals by his family members and assurances by the security forces, the other militants did not let him surrender,” the official said.
During a fierce gunfight in the early hours, both the trapped militants were killed and the bodies of all three were recovered from the site of the encounter, he said.
“As per police records, they were part of groups involved in many militancy cases and linked with proscribed outfit Al-Badr,” he said.
Arms and ammunition, including an AK-56 rifle and two pistols, besides other incriminating material, were recovered from the site of the encounter.
Police also said the last rites of the killed militants will be performed after conducting medico-legal formalities at Handwara and their nearest family members shall be allowed to participate in the last rites.
People were also requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any.
Parents should strive to bring their kids back from militancy: IGP
Srinagar: Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir Vijay Kumar Sunday asked the parents of newly-recruited militants in the Valley to make continuous appeals to their children to shun the path of violence and not confine themselves to the last appeal.
“Parents should make continuous appeals to the newly-recruited terrorists to return. The appeals should be made regularly. The parents should not confine themselves to the last appeal when their children are trapped in an encounter,” he said.
The IGP’s remarks came after security forces made fervent appeals to militants trapped in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district to surrender on Saturday. Three militants were killed in the encounter — one on Saturday and two on Sunday.
A police official said the forces exercised maximum restraint and facilitated the presence of family members of a holed-up militant, Faisal Gulzar, at the encounter site so as to persuade him to surrender.
However, despite repeated appeals by his family members and assurances by the security forces, “the other militants did not allow him to surrender,” the official said.
Police sources said Gulzar was a minor and had recently joined the militant ranks.