Top Hizb comdr among 5 militants, civilian killed; 25 injured

Troops keep vigil at the encounter site in Kulgam on Saturday. —Excelsior/Sajad Dar
Troops keep vigil at the encounter site in Kulgam on Saturday. —Excelsior/Sajad Dar

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Sept 15: A top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen was among 5 militants and a civilian killed and 25 others injured in an encounter in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district today.
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Security forces last night on the basis on credible inputs about the presence of militants launched an operation in Chowgam area of Qazigund in Kulgam district. Militants fired on the search party during the operation. Some civilians who were trapped in the area were moved to safer location by the security forces before the assault was launched against the militants.
In the ensuing of encounter, a group of five militants affiliated with HM and LeT were killed. The militants have been identified as Gulzar Ahmad Padder alias Saif resident of Adijan Kulgam, Faisal Ahmad Rather alias Dawood resident of Yamrach Kulgam, Zahid Ahmad Mir alias Hashim resident of Okey Kulgam, Masroor Molvi alias Abu Darda resident of Fatehpora Anantnag and Zahoor Ahmad Lone alias Rehman Bhai resident of Nagnad Noorabad Damhal Hanjipora.
Police said that Gulzar Paddar, was a close associate of Altaf Kachroo and “was involved in a series of militant attacks including killing of five police personnel at Pambay last year along with two bank employees.”
“He was also involved in the killings of SPO at Krewan Chidder in Kulgam,” police said, adding that besides “he was involved in looting police guards at Damhal Hanjipora and weapon snatching cases reported across Kulgam and many other bank robbery cases attempted in the area.”
Police said that Zahid of Okey village was wanted for his involvement in the killing of policeman Fayaz Ahmad of Zainapora on the day of Eid while as Faisal was involved in the killing of Policeman Gowhar Ahmad who was posted in Shopian last year.
“Zahoor alias Rehman and Mansoor were involved in series of terror offences besides recruitment bid in the locality,” police spokesman said, adding that arms and ammunition were also seized from the site of encounter.
Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the instant matter, spokesman said.
Meanwhile, a civilian identified as Rouf Ahmad of Anchidora Anantnag was killed during the clashes that erupted near the encounter site in Kulgam district and 25 others were injured. Rouf received bullet injuries during the encounter and was rushed to Srinagar hospital for specialized treatment where he succumbed.
A large number of people gathered at the encounter site and pelted stones on the security forces. The security forces retaliated by firing tear smoke and pellets to disperse them in which at least 25 persons were injured.
The 2-Sector Commander of Army, Brigidiar Sachin Malik, said that based on specific special inputs a joint operation was launched by Army, Police and the CRPF in village Chowgam of Kulgam district. “This operation was launched on the input received of presence of five terrorists in a specific house in this village. We were achieved a complete surprise in laying of the cordon and were able to trap these five terrorists inside the house. By 11am today we were able to eliminate all the five terrorists and recover a considerable quantity of arms and ammunition”, he said.
“We are all aware that recruitment is on rise and the number of local terrorists are rising. If we look out the South Kashmir, the figure of militants is approximately 200 and 15 percent are foreign terrorists”, he said.
Separatists called for a shutdown for Monday in Kashmir against the killings of five militants and a civilian in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
The separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik appealed for a shutdown on Monday against the killings.