Non-local hawker, carpenter killed

Security forces near encounter site at Drangbal in Pampore on Saturday. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
Security forces near encounter site at Drangbal in Pampore on Saturday. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

2 militants involved in civilian killings shot dead

Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar, Oct 16: Amid heightened alert in Kashmir, militants this evening shot dead two non-local residents in two separate incidents in Srinagar and Pulwama while security forces gunned down two militants wanted in recent civilian killings.
A non-local resident was shot dead in the evening at Eidgah area of Srinagar. He was identified as Arvind Kumar Shah.

Click here to watch video
“He was fired from a close range and taken to SMHS hospital where he was declared brought dead on arrival,” an official said. The police sealed the area and a massive search operation was launched to nab the attackers.
Barely 30 minutes after the killing of Arvind, militants killed another non-local resident, a carpenter by profession at Pulwama’s Litter village. The slain was identified as Sagir Ahmed, who was working as a carpenter at a local mill in Litter.
“He was rushed to District Hospital Pulwama for treatment where the doctors declared him as brought dead,” the official said.
The fresh killings of non-locals in Kashmir comes after recent successes against militants by the security forces in which majority of those militants responsible for civilian killings were eliminated.
The fresh killings have left another challenge for the security forces as they have come at a time when entire Kashmir was on a high security alert.
Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha tweeted: “I strongly condemn the brutal killings of Arvind Kumar Shah and Sagir Ahmad by militants. My heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones. The UT Govt stands in solidarity with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. Perpetrators of these heinous attacks will be punished soon. We have intensified our efforts to crush militants and their ecosystem. They will have to pay a very heavy price for killing innocent civilians. I urge people to speak in one voice and join hands in the fight against militancy.”
Meanwhile, two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants involved in recent civilian killings in Srinagar were killed in an encounter in Pulwama district today.
Last night based on a specific input generated by Awantipora Police regarding presence of militants in Drangbal area of Pampore a search operation was launched by Police, 50 RR of Army and 110 battalion of CRPF in the area.
“During the search operation, as the presence of militants got ascertained, they were given opportunity to surrender. Instead, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated, leading to an encounter”, a Police spokesman said.
Two militants were killed in the encounter and their bodies were retrieved. They have been identified as Umer Mushtaq Khandey and Shahid Khurshid.
As per police records, both of them were collaborators in recent killings in Srinagar city and involved in several other cases. Besides, Umer Mushtaq was also involved in the killing of two cops Mohammad Yousuf and Suhail Ahmad in Baghat area of Srinagar and figured among the list of top 10 most wanted militants.
Police said incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were also recovered from the site of encounter.
The Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said that post recent civilian killings in Srinagar 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 of them have been eliminated now.
He said that police is committed to hunt down all the militants who try to create fear among masses and spread mischief and tumult in the Valley.
He said that, post recent civilian killings, so far 13 militants have been eliminated in 9 different anti-militancy operations including 3 out of 5 militants of Srinagar City who were killed within less than 24 hours. He also said that, as of now only two militants of Srinagar Mehran and Wasim are active and all efforts are on to nab them.
Meanwhile, J&K Govt will immediately release ex-gratia amounts to the next of kin of Arvind Kumar Shah and Sagir Ahmad, who were killed by the militants. The administration will also provide all the necessary assistance for their last rites, an official spokesman said.
Bhiar CM Nisith Kumar has announced Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia from Chief Minister’s relief fund for the next of the kin of Arvind Kumar Shah who was killed in Srinagar this evening.