Five Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in a joint operation by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Saturday, officials said. A civilian was killed and over a dozen others injured in clashes that erupted around the encounter site as protesters tried to break the cordon to provide an escape route to trapped militants.
Army spokesman, colonel Rajesh Kalia said that five militants were killed in the operation and weapons recovered from them. Police termed the killing of five militants as a success, saying they were involved in killings of policemen and bank guards and in bank robberies.
Giving details about the operation, a police spokesman said that based on credible information about the presence of militants, security forces launched an operation at Chowgam area of Qazigund in Kulgam at midnight.
‘’As the search operation was underway, militants opened fire on the search party. Initially the civilians were moved away from the site of encounter to safer locations and security forces then engaged the militants,’’ he added.
The killed militants were identified as Gulzar Ahmad Padder alias Saif of Adijan in Kulgam, Faisal Ahmad Rather alias Dawood of Yamrach in Kulgam, Zahid Ahmad Mir alias Hashim of Okey in Kulgam, Zahoor Ahmad Lone alias Rehman Bhai of Nagnad Noorabad Damhal Hanjipora and Masroor Molvi alias Abu Darda of Fatehpora in Anantnag.
According to police, Paddar was a close associate of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Altaf Kachroo and nvolved in a series of terror attacks including killing of five police personnel at Pambay last year in May as well as two bank employees.
‘He was also involved in the killings of a special police officer (SPO) at Krewan Chidder in Kulgam, besides, involved in looting police guards at Damhaal and weapon snatching cases reported across Kulgam and many other bank robbery cases attempted in the area.’’
Mir was involved in the killing of policeman Fayaz Ahmad on Eid ul Azha last month, while Rather was involved in the killing of policeman Gowhar Ahmad who was posted in Shopian last year. The other two were involved in series of terror offences besides recruitment of fresh militants in the area.
Meanwhile, Rouf Ahmad, 24, of Anchidora was killed and over a dozen civilians were injured as protesters gathered at the encounter site.
Following the encounter, a shutdown was observed in Kulgam and Anantnag districts while officials, fearing further protests, ordered suspension of internet services while the rail service between Srinagar and Banihal was also halted. Three injured civilians were shifted to Srinagar hospitals.
Medical superintendent, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Farooq Jan told HT that three injured persons were brought from Kulgam to the hospital. “They (injured) are being evaluated, one had pellet injuries while others had fire arm wounds.’’
Since Tuesday, forces have killed nine militants in Kashmir and three militants in Jammu region in four different operations. Out of them, five were foreign militants. The separatists’ Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for a shutdown on Monday against the killing of civilians and five militants.
First Published: Sep 15, 2018 07:49 IST