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Two LeT militants killed in encounter in Pulwama

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No security lapse behind civilian killings: IGP

Srinagar: Two militants, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Umar Mushtaq Khandey, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Pampore area of Pulwama district on Saturday, police said.

Giving details of the encounter, a police spokesperson in a statement said during the preceding night, based on specific input generated by Awantipora Police regarding presence of militants in Drangbal area of Pampore, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by police, 50RR and 110Bn CRPF in the said area.

“During the search operation, as the presence of terrorists got ascertained they were given opportunity to surrender, instead they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter.

“In the ensuing encounter, two terrorists were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter,” spokesperson said.

He identified the slain militants as Umer Mushtaq Khandey and Shahid Khurshid, who he said were linked with proscribed outfit LeT (TRF).

As per police records, “both the killed terrorists were collaborators in recent killings in Srinagar city and involved in several other terror crimes. Besides, Umer Mushtaq was also involved in the killing of SgCt Mohammad Yousuf and Ct Suhail Ahmad in Baghat area of Srinagar and figured among the list of top 10 most wanted terrorists. He was also responsible for creating terror among the locals and had been coercing innocent citizens to sympathise with anti-national elements,” the spokesperson said.

Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were also recovered from the site of encounter, which have been taken into case records for further investigation.

Police has registered a case under relevant sections of law and started investigation in to the matter. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any, spokesperson said.

“LeT #terrorist Umar Mustaq Khandey who martyred our 2 colleagues SgCT Mohammad Yousf and Ct Suhail Ah in Baghat Srinagar while they were having tea, #neutralised in Drangbal, #Pampore. Amongst various other crimes of the terrorists, this stands out as most unforgivable,” Inspector General of Police, (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said in a tweet.

Police spokesperson quoted the IGP Kumar as saying that after the recent civilian killings in the city “Shahid Khurshid along with Shahid Bashir shifted to district Pulwama while as their other associate Mukhtar Shah shifted to district Shopian and all the three terrorists stands eliminated.”

He also said that “police is committed to hunt down all the terrorists who try to create fear among masses and spread mischief & tumult in the valley and such elements & their names should be excised from society.”

He also said after recent civilian killings, “so far 13 terrorists have been eliminated in nine different anti-terrorist operations including three out of five terrorists of Srinagar city who were killed within less than 24 hrs.”

He said that “as of now only two terrorists of Srinagar city namely Mehran & Wasim are active and all efforts are on to nab them.”

Meanwhile, Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police on Saturday ruled out any security lapse behind the recent civilian killings in the Valley and said that it is not possible to provide security to all those “who may be soft targets for terrorists”.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, IGP, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said that none of the civilians killed last week had been provided security by the police.

“There was no lapse in security… They (terrorists) chose soft targets, we had not provided security to them (civilians). It is not possible to provide security to all soft targets,” Kumar said.

He said security forces “acted swiftly and identified all five terrorists involved in the killings”.

“Two of them have been neutralised and the other three will also be tracked down soon,” he added.

Dismissing criticism of the security apparatus by politicians, Kumar said the police are dealing with the situation professionally.

“It is the job of politicians to make all kinds of statements. I am a professional and I know how to deal with it (situation). We are dealing with it professionally,” he said.

The IGP said that 11 militants have been killed in nine encounters since October 08.

“Two more are trapped (in an encounter at Pampore) and they will also be killed soon,” he said.

Many political leaders had criticised the Centre and the security forces over the civilian killings in Kashmir. Some had also demanded that accountability be fixed for the “repeated security lapses” and security be provided to members of minority communities living in the Valley.

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