Top LeT comdr among 3 militants killed in Pulwama encounter

Security forces near encounter site at New Colony in Pulwama on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
Security forces near encounter site at New Colony in Pulwama on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

2 OGWs arrested in Budgam

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, July 14: A top Lashkar-e-Toiba commander and his two associates were killed in an overnight gun battle that raged in Pulwama town of South Kashmir.
Police, Army’s 55 RR and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation on specific information about the presence of militants in the New Colony Pulwama town last night.
As the security forces approached the suspected house, the hiding militants opened fire, which was retaliated, after which a heavy exchange of fire took place. The intermittent exchange of fire continued throughout the night and with the first light of the day, three militants were killed in a final assault this morning.

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Soon after the encounter ended, the authorities in Pulwama imposed a strict curfew in the main town as a precautionary measure while internet services remained suspended.
A police official said that curfew was imposed in the entire Pulwama town as a precautionary measure to avert any untoward incident. “Announcements were made in the town about the curfew,” he said. Locals of Pulwama, however, said that soon after the encounter youth came out on the streets and they clashed with security forces in the main town.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar told Excelsior that three militants including LeT commander Aijaz alias Abu Huraira of Pakistan were killed in the operation.
He said that Huraira was instrumental in recruiting innocent youth into militancy besides, planning and executing several attacks in the area. He added that the other two were also involved in various militancy related incidents in the area.
A police spokesman said that due to darkness the operation was last night suspended but the cordon remained intact. “Taking advantage of darkness, militants tried to escape, however, they couldn’t. In the wee hours, repeated announcements were again made to hiding militants to surrender, but the militants again fired on the joint search party and the fire was retaliated”, he said.
He said that the other two militants have been identified as Javeed Ahmad Rather son of Abdul Ganie Rather, resident of Tahab Pulwama, and Shahnawaz Nazir Ganie son of Nazir Ahmad Ganie, resident of Samboora, Awantipora.
Meanwhile, police today arrested two militant associates of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and recovered incriminating materials and live ammunition from their possession in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Police identified the associates as Mohammad Ashraf Shaksaz and Mursaleen Maqbool Bhat-both residents of Budgam.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the arrested militant associates were providing shelter, logistics and other material support including transportation of arms and ammunition to the militants of LeT in various areas of Budgam,” read the statement.
The spokesman said that the duo was in touch with the Pakistan militant commanders through various social media platforms and were also in constant touch with Lashkar-e-Toiba militant commanders in Kashmir.
“Incriminating material including posters of LeT and live ammunition including 30 rounds of AK-47 and 7 rounds of Chinese pistol were recovered from their possession”, the spokesman said.
A case (FIR number 207/2021 under relevant Sections of law) has been registered in Police Station Budgam and investigation into the matter has been initiated.