Militant module busted in Budgam, 5 arrested
Srinagar, July 19: A policeman-turned Lashkar-e-Toiba commander and his associate were killed in an encounter at Check-e-Sadiq Khan area of Southern district of Shopian today.
A police official said that joint teams of police, Army’s 34 RR and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation on a specific information about the presence of militants in Check Sadiq Khan area on last evening.
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As the security forces approached towards suspected house, the hiding militants opened fire, which was retaliated, after which heavy exchange of gunfire took place. “The exchange of fire continued for few hours in which two militants were killed,” he said.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, described killing of LeT commander a major success for the security forces in Shopian. He said that Ashfaq who joined police in 2012 deserted and joined LeT in 2017 and was among most wanted militants in Kashmir. “He was posted at the Police Training Centre Kathua in Jammu division from where he availed leave in October 2017 and didn’t report back on duty”, he said.
Ashfaq’s picture in which he was holding an AK-47 riffle went viral on social media soon after he failed to report back to Police training College. Another militant killed in the gunfight was identified as Majid Iqbal, father of two minors, and a driver by profession, who had joined militancy just two months ago.
A police spokesman said that militants were given opportunities to surrender. However, they fired indiscriminately upon the search party which was retaliated, leading to an encounter. “In the ensuing encounter, two militants of LeT were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. They were identified as Ishfaq Ahmad Dar son of Abdul Rashid Dar, resident of Heff Shirmal, Shopian, a top commander of LeT active since 2017 and Majid Iqbal Bhat son of Mohammad Iqbal Bhat resident of Melibagh Imamsahab, Shopian.”
As per police records, both the killed militants were part of groups involved in various cases and several cases were registered against them. The police spokesman said that slain Ishfaq was active since 2017 and figured among the list of most wanted militants. “He was very instrumental in planning and executing attacks on security establishments, civilian killings and misleading youth by motivating them to join militant folds,” the spokesman said. “Incriminating materials, arms and ammunition including two AK-47 rifles and 8 magazines were recovered from the site of encounter”, police said.
South Kashmir witnessed eight encounters in which 20 militants were killed, all of them affiliated with the LeT outfit in last three weeks.
Of eight encounters, three took place in Kulgam district, three in Pulwama and one each in Anantnag and Shopian districts.
These militants include three top commanders Neeshaz Lone of Tral Pulwama, Aarif Hajam of Sadoora, Anantnag and Ishfaq Ahmad Dar from Heff Shopian.
In the meantime, police today busted an LeT module by arresting a local militant along with four associates from Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
“Acting on a specific information, Budgam police along with 53RR and 43Bn CRPF arrested one local militant linked with LeT and recovered incriminating materials, arms and ammunition including one Chinese pistol, one magazine and eight live pistol rounds from his possession,” police said while identifying the arrested militant as Muhammad Younis Mir of Choon Budgam.
Upon questioning of the arrested militant, Budgam police succeeded in busting a militant module of LeT by arresting four associates. “Incriminating materials and ammunition including two hand grenades were also recovered from their possession,” police said.
They have been identified as Imran Zahoor Ganie of Kulbug Budgam, Umer Farooq Wani of Ompora Budgam, Faizan Qayoom Ganie and Shahnawaz Ahmad Mir-both residents of Choon Budgam.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the arrested militant associates were involved in providing shelter, logistics and other material support including transportation of arms and ammunition to the active militants of LeT in various areas of Budgam, police said.
The arrested local militant and other associates have been in touch with the PaK militant commanders through various social media platforms and also with local militant commanders of LeT in Kashmir.
A case (FIR number 219/2021 under relevant Sections of law) has been registered in Police Station Budgam and further investigation is in progress.