Written by Adil Akhzer | Srinagar | Published: June 20, 2020 5:35:48 am
An official said the militants in Shopian were affiliated with the Hizbul Mujahideen, while those in Awantipora were with the LeT. (Representational)
Security forces killed eight militants in two separate encounters in a 24-hour period in the Valley, Jammu and Kashmir Police said, adding that the slain belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Both encounters—one in Shopian district’s Bandhpawa Munand area and the other in Pampore area of Pulwama district’s Awantipora—started on Thursday and security forces had initially said two militants were killed in the operations. On Friday, when the operations concluded, officials said a total of eight militants have been killed.
A J&K Police spokesperson said in a statement on Friday, “Four more terrorists were killed in Shopian (total five) while two more terrorists were killed in Awantipora (total three). In the said ensuing encounters total eight terrorists were killed.”
An official said the militants in Shopian were affiliated with the Hizbul Mujahideen, while those in Awantipora were with the LeT.
IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar told The Indian Express, “In two operations, we have neutralised eight militants in two districts in the last 24 hours. This is a biggest success for the security forces in the Valley. Both the operations were clean and there was no collateral damage. The number of militants killed this year has now crossed 100. Operations will continue in the same manner.”
Police officials said in both the operations, the identity of the slain militant is being ascertained. “They will be buried in Baramulla district,” said a police officer.
Officials said after the Awantipora encounter began, two militants moved to a nearby mosque. A senior police officer told The Indian Express that local residents were sent to convince the militants to surrender. “They (the militants) didn’t agree to surrender. Since they were hiding inside a mosque, we used chilli grenades and tear smoke shells to kill the militants.”
IGP Kumar said, “In Awantipora operation forces worked very professionally and no IED and firing was used… We eliminated them ensuring no damage to the mosque. We maintained sanctity of the mosque.”
Fayaz Ahmad, the cleric of the mosque where the militants were hiding, after the encounter said that the mosque had suffered no damage and was intact.
Addressing a press briefing by the joint forces, general officer commanding (GOC) of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen B S Raju said that out of 49 new recruits who joined the militant ranks this year, 27 have been killed. The GOC also stated that in the next few months, “we will be able to take this peace process forward and ensure that normalcy is brought into the environment”.
Since June 7, several major anti-militancy operations have taken place in South Kashmir’s Shopian. J&K Police say from next month, they will focus on North Kashmir.
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