Doda free from presence of militants: IGP
JAMMU, May 17: A top Hizbul Mujahideen commander from South Kashmir was killed and an Army soldier martyred in an encounter at village Khudra near Gundana under the jurisdiction of Doda police station today after which Doda has once again been declared as “militancy-free’’ by the police. Slain militant was involved in the killing of prominent functionary of RSS Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO Rajinder Singh in Kishtwar last April.
After the encounter, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh announced that Doda now can be termed as free from any presence of militants.
SSP Doda Mumtaz Ahmad supervised the operation along with senior officers of Army, CRPF and SSB.
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The IGP Jammu told media persons here this evening that a search operation was launched at village Khudra by joint teams of police, Army, CRPF and SSB last night after trekking five to six hours to the village following specific information that Hizbul Mujahideen militant Tahir Ahmad Bhat of Pulwama was hiding in a house.
Reliable sources said the militant had sneaked into the house of Nazir Ahmed at village Khudra, located near Gundana but falling under the jurisdiction of Doda tehsil and police station.
Around 5 am, police cordoned off the house and tactfully evicted all family members of Nazir Ahmad.
As the militant opened indiscriminate firing, security personnel retaliated leading to heavy exchange of gunfight which continued for about two to three hours. In the process, an IED went off in the house causing extensive damage to the structure.
Tahir Ahmad Bhat was killed inside the house. However, in the process, Lance Naik Raj Singh Khatana of 10 Rashtriya Rifles was martyred in the operation while fighting bravely during the encounter.
“Searches of the debris were on to ascertain whether any other militant has also been killed in the operation,’’ sources said. There had been reports that another Hizbul Mujahideen militant Maqsood was also accompanying Tahir Ahmad Bhat. However, during searches, his body wasn’t traced which indicated that Bhat was alone in the house and Maqsood might be hiding in Kishtwar or any other place.
Police have recovered one AK-47 rifle and a magazine from the possession of slain militant.
The Jammu Police chief said Bhat was active since last year and his name had figured as one of the fabricators of the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which had targeted the CRPF convoy at Banihal in March 2019 but there was no damage as the IED didn’t explode.
“Bhat was also part of the group which had killed RSS senior functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO Rajinder Singh inside Kishtwar Hospital in April,’’ Singh said.
Describing the killing of Tahir Ahmad Bhat as major success for security forces, he said Doda now can be termed as free from any presence of militants.
Bhat, who was dreaded militant of Hizbul Mujahideen, had specially been deputed from South Kashmir by the militant outfit to step-up militant activities in Doda district. However, security forces today neutralized him.
Few days back, police had arrested two militants from Doda district in two separate search operations.
Tariq Ahmad Bhat was close associate of slain militant Haroon, who had revived militancy in Kishtwar and was involved in the killings of prominent BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar near their house in Kishtwar on November 1, 2018 followed by the killings of Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO Rajinder Singh in Kishtwar in April last year.
Haroon was eliminated by the security forces in January this year.