Srinagar, April 09 : Seven militants including chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGuH) were killed in two separate encounters in south Kashmir since Thursday night.
An official told Kashmir Despatch that in one of the encounter five militants were killed at Jan Mohalla area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday.
The operation was launched on Thursday in the area and prolonged due to the presence of militants in Mosque.
IGP and GOC also rushed yesterday to the encounter site to monitor operation personally the official added.
The official added that people including the Imam of the mosque were sent to appeal the militants to surrender. But they refused and resorted to firing and in the exchange of fire total five militants were killed.
The officer identified the slain militants as Muzamil Tantry, Adil Lone, Younish Ahmed Khanday and Basit Bhat. The officer added that the fifth militant has not been identified yet.
He said that in the encounter, two militantts managed to escape during the initial shoot-out, but they were eventually chased and killed in Pulwama’s Tral area on Friday morning.
He said among the militants who were killed is Imtiaz Shah, the chief of AGH in Kashmir, The identity of Imtiyaz’s aide was not known yet.
Meanwhile, Police in a statement issued to Kashmir Despatch said during the last 24 hours two encounters took place in South Kashmir’s Shopian and Tral, Awantipora areas in which 7 militants including AGuH chief were killed.
In Shopian, on a specific input generated by Shopian Police regarding presence of a group of militants in village Baba Mohalla area of Shopian, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Shopian Police, 44RR and 14Bn CRPF in the said area.
During the search operation as the presence of terrorists in nearby mosque got ascertained they were given ample opportunity to surrender and repeated appeals were made to them, instead, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter. In the initial firing, 4 Army personnel got minor injuries and were accordingly shifted to hospital for treatment. In the retaliatory firing, three militants were killed while attempting to break cordon however two militants kept firing on security forces. Local Imam of mosque and brother of one of militant were requested to persuade terrorists to surrender but terrorists refused. Keeping in view the sanctity of mosque, the joint team exercised maximum restraint and didn’t use any kind of IED, heavy arms or other explosive substance.
Even troops didn’t enter into the mosque. Security forces kept launching tear smoke shells inside mosque. In view of this scenario, the operation was suspended for night hours, but the cordon remained intact in and around the encounter site. All possible efforts were made to persuade the holed up terrorists to surrender as besides repeated surrender appeals, parents of one of militant were requested to persuade but both terrorists didn’t surrender. But the holed up militants refused and sent them back.
Again on Friday in the wee hours, parents of holed up terrorist were sent inside the mosque to yet again persuade them to come out and surrender, but they again refused and sent them back and instead started firing indiscriminately on the joint team. The joint team keeping in view the sanctity of mosque used smoke shells and fired tactfully without damaging the mosque, as a result of which they were successful in eliminating two more militants taking the toll to five.
The operation was monitored and supervised by IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar-IPS and GOC Victor Force Maj General Rashim Bali who remained present on spot.
During the operation police learnt that while laying cordon two militants had managed to escape from Shopian encounter and the lead was further developed by Awantipora police. The said militants were ultimately tracked at an undisclosed hideout in village Nowbugh area of Tral, by joint team of Awantipora Police, 42RR and 180Bn CRPF in the said area.
The hiding militants were also given opportunity to surrender, however, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter.
In the ensuing encounter, two terrorists were killed including AGuH commander Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah resident of Ruthsuna Tral and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. The 2nd militant has been identified as Zahid Ahmed Koka resident of Malhoora Shopian.
As per police records, killed AGuH commander Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah was active since 19/04/2019 and was an A+ categorized militant. He was involved in several terror crime cases including civilian killings, attacks on security forces and civilian atrocities besides, he was also involved in motivating youth to join terrorist ranks. The militant handlers had assigned him the task to attack army/yatra convoy en-route Tral area. Similarly the other killed militants were also involved in several terror crime cases including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities.
Incriminating materials including arms & ammunition were recovered from both the encounter sites. The group of killed militants was operating jointly and were affiliated with proscribed terror outfits HM/AGuH/LeT.
All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other terror crimes.
In this connection police have registered cases under relevant sections of law and investigation has been initiated. People are requested to cooperate with police till the areas are completely sanitized and cleared off of all the explosive materials, if any the statement further reads.