Top JeM comdr killed in 45-hour long encounter in Shopian

Security forces near encounter site at Rawalpora in Shopian on Monday. — Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
Security forces near encounter site at Rawalpora in Shopian on Monday. — Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Afghani was mastermind of recruitment: IGP

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, Mar 15: A top Jaish-e-Mohammad commander was today killed in a 45-hour long encounter between security forces and militants in Rawalpora area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar, termed the killing of top JeM commander Villayat Ahmed Lone alias Sajjad Afghani as a big relief for the parents as he was mastermind of recruiting youth into militancy.

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“We delayed operation due to some reasons-first militants made five civilians as hostages, secondly, militants kept changing houses. Third our aim was to prevent collateral damage in which we got success,” Kumar said.
The encounter that was put on hold last night resumed in the wee hours today. “As the search operation was resumed, contact with the holed up militants was again established and during the ensuing encounter one more militant was killed and his body was retrieved from the site of encounter. He has been identified as top JeM commander Vilayat Ahmad Lone alias Sajad Afghani, resident of Shopian,” the IGP said.
As per police records, Lone was active since September 2018 and was part of a group involved in executing a series of attacks on policemen, security forces and civilians. “He was also involved in attacks on security establishments and brutal killings of civilians branding them as police and security forces informers,” police said, adding that “several criminal cases were registered against him and he was wanted by law for his complicity in several terror crime cases including Case FIR No. 304/2018 PS Shopian pertaining to terrorising the people so as to keep them away from Panchayat polls including blazing a Panchayat Ghar at Kanji-ullar, case FIR No. 307/2018 PS Shopian pertaining to barging into the houses of police personnel, abducting and killing of SgCt Nisar Ahmad, Follower Firdous Ahmad and SPO Kulwant Singh. Case FIR No. 343/2018 PS Shopian regarding attack on 34RR camp at Matribugh. Case FIR No. 362/2018 PS Shopian regarding abduction and killing of civilian Suhail Ahmad Ganai. Case FIR No. 35/2019 PS Shopian regarding killing of SPO Khusboo Jan and Case FIR No. 45/2019 PS Shopian regarding abduction and killing of civilian Tanveer Ahmad Dar.”
The IGP Kashmir and GoC Victor Force conducted aerial monitoring of the operation and law and order situations at the encounter site. “Both the officers have appreciated police and security forces for the big success and conducting operation successfully without any collateral damage,” police said, adding that “incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter”. Police said that all these materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe his complicity in other terror crimes.
Earlier search operation was launched on Saturday evening in Rawalpora village of Shopian district after reports of presence of two militants there. It was suspended due to darkness and operation resumed on Sunday morning. One militant Jahangir Ahmad Wani of Narpora, Shopian was killed on Sunday morning and search operation remained intact in the area. However, no further contact was established with hiding militants. However, this morning contact was established leading to a gun battle in which the JeM commander was killed.
Several youth were injured during clashes and several houses were destroyed during the encounter. The internet services were snapped in Shopian district as a precautionary measure.
In the meantime, security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Brath village of Sopore in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district this evening.
A joint team of Army’s 22 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in Brath village of Sopore Town and conducted house to house searches in the area.
Security forces have installed lights so as to prevent the escape of militants owing to darkness.