Srinagar, Mar 12: Two top commanders of Jaish-e-Mohammad including a foreigner were among four militants killed in three separate nocturnal gunbattles in Kashmir today while one militant was captured during the encounter.
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Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said here that last evening, police received specific inputs in three districts-Pulwama, Ganderal and Handwara about the presence of militants.
“An operation took place in Pulwama’s Chawalgam in which two Jaish militants including a top commander of the outfit Khalid Bhai from Pakistan, who was active since 2018, was killed. His associate Yaqib Mushtaq, who was district commander of JeM after the killing of Zahid Wani, was also killed. Yaqib was from Karimabad area, once the hotbed of JeM,” he said, adding that “Now there is no active JeM militant in Karimabad.”
The IGP said that one LeT militant was killed in Handwara encounter and another in Ganderbal while one militant Rouf Ahmed Mir was caught during the Pulwama encounter along with pistol.
He said that nowadays there is one foreign militant accompanying at least two local militants and on the directions from across, they try to misuse religious places to trigger law and order situation. “We are alert to foil such bids as seen recently at Pulwama and Hazratbal, Srinagar,” he added.
A police spokesman said that the first operation took place in Chewakalan area of Pulwama district, when police, 50 RR and 182 Bn CRPF cordoned off the area.
“As the search party moved towards local Darul Uloom, militants hiding inside fired indiscriminately upon the search party in which one civilian identified as Zahoor Ahmad Shergojri son of Mohammad Abdullah of Chewakalan received gunshot injury. He was later shifted to hospital where his condition is said to be stable,” the official said.
“The joint party retaliated the fire leading to an encounter. Keeping the sanctity of the institution into mind, operation was carried out with all due precautions and deliberations,” he added.
He said that in the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. “One of the killed militants has been identified as a Pakistani commander Kamaal Bhai alias Jatt while the other slain was identified as commander Aqib Mushtaq alias Usman Hyder son of Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, resident of Karimabad, Pulwama. Both were affiliated with JeM, outfit,” he added.
The spokesman said that Pulwama police along with 50 RR and 183 Bn CRPF caught a militant during another anti-militancy operation carried out in village Wahibugh area. “He has been identified as Rouf Ahmad Mir son of Mohammad Yousuf Mir, resident of Parigam, Pulwama. Incriminating material, arms and ammunition including a pistol, two magazines, 26 rounds, 3 grenades and one pouch were recovered from his possession,” he said.
The spokesman said that two more anti-militancy operations were launched in village Nechama Rajwar area of Handwara by Police, 21RR and 9 Para and in village Serch area of Ganderbal by police, 24 RR and 115 CRPF followed by specific information’s generated by respective police units. “As the joint search parties approached towards suspected spots, the hiding militants started firing indiscriminately on the search parties which was retaliated leading to encounters at both the places,” the spokesman said.
He said that in the ensuing encounters at Handwara and Ganderbal, one militant each, affiliated with LeT were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounters.
“The slain at Handwara encounter site has been identified as Suhail Ahmad Ganie son of Gulzar Ahmad, resident of Terigam Kulgam while as the killed militant at Ganderbal was identified as Adil Ahmad Khan son of Abdul Ahad resident of Badarkund, Ganderbal,” the spokesman added.
He said that from the three encounter sites, incriminating materials, arms and ammunition including two AK-56 rifles, one AK short barrel rifle, one pistol, nine AK-magazines, one Grenade, eight Pistol rounds and 32 AK rounds have been recovered.
Meanwhile, a day after a Sarpanch was killed in Kulgam, the Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Vijay Kumar, today reviewed their security and said the vulnerable have been provided accommodation at Srinagar and other district headquarters.
Speaking to reporters on the side-lines of a function at Tagore Hall Srinagar, Kumar said that Sarpanchs and Panchs who are facing threats from militants are being provided safe accommodations in Srinagar and other district headquarters.
“Since they are soft targets, militants find it easy to attack them as 90 per cent of them are without PSOs. Sarpanch killed in Kulgam yesterday was provided space in Srinagar but he had travelled to South Kashmir without informing the police,” he said.
During the security review meeting at Kulgam with the officers of the district, the security of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Protected Persons (PPs) was also discussed threadbare and the concerned were directed to revisit the existing security and other measures and take all necessary security measures in view of the respective ground situation.
On the occasion, the officers briefed the IGP about the prevailing security scenario, existing security grid, operational aspects, other challenges and measures being adopted to counter the challenges in the district.
Kumar visited South Kashmir’s Kulgam district and held meeting with Deputy Commissioner Kulgam, SSP Kulgam, CRPF COs of Kulgam and other senior police officers of the district to review the security scenario and anti-militancy operations.
The IGP Kashmir while interacting with the officers urged upon them to strengthen the general security grid and ensure great synergy and coordination among the agencies working on ground.
He also reiterated the need to adopt proactive measures to enhance anti-militancy grid by generating specific intelligence and intensify anti-terrorist operations in their area and to take all proactive steps for maintaining peace and stability in the district. He also emphasized upon the officers to keep strict vigil over the terrorist associates and take all necessary measures under law against them.
Earlier, a Sarpanch escaped unhurt in a militant attack at Arihal village in district Pulwama today. Militants fired at Sarpanch of Arihal village Ghulam Nabi Kumar but he escaped unhurt.
Security forces cordoned off the area immediately to nab the militants responsible for the attack. This is the third militant attack on sarpchs this week. Two Sarpanchs were killed this week in two separate target killings.