SRINAGAR: Four more
terrorists, including a commander, were killed in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Monday, a day after another top commander among five others of the outfit was killed in the district, taking the total number of ultras eliminated in the past week to 22.
“In the past week, 22 terrorists including six top commanders have been killed in J&K in nine anti-terror operations. As many as 88 ultras have been eliminated in around 35
, while around 240 overground workers and 40 sympathizers have been arrested — some under the Public Safety Act — this year,” J&K DGP
told reporters on Monday.
“IED expert Fauji Bhai was also killed and alert forces thwarted a repetition of the
by successfully neutralizing an IED planted in a car on May 28,” he added.
Police believe it was a joint plot by Hizbul and Jaish. “There are reports that Jaish is trying to carry out IED attacks but we are on alert,” Singh said, dismissing reports of Taliban’s involvement in terror crimes in the Valley.
Three soldiers were also injured in Monday’s gunfight, official sources said. Security forces have been placed on high alert since Sunday night in the wake of intelligence inputs about a Jaish duo planning a car bomb explosion in the Valley.
As per intelligence inputs, two Jaish-e-Mohammad IED experts from Pakistan — Lamboo Bhai and Waleed Bhai — are planning to carry out a terror attack on security installations in the Valley in a bid to avenge the killing of Abdur Rehman alias Fauji Bhai, Masood Azhar’s nephew from Pakistan’s Multan province, in an anti-terror operation in Pulwama last week.
The duo had rigged a car with explosives. The vehicle was tracked while moving between Chadoora in central Kashmir’s Budgam and south Kashmir’s Pulwama districts. Since Sunday night, security forces have been asked to stay on high alert, said IGP (Kashmir Zone) Vijay Kumar, adding, “We have also identified Jaish chief Abdullah Rashid Gazi who operates in Pulwama’s Khrew area. He is hiding in the woods.”
On Monday, a joint team of Army’s 44 RR, CRPF and local police launched a cordon-and search operation in Shopian’s Pinjoora after receiving inputs about the presence of four local terrorists in the area, IGP Kumar said.
“These terrorists were involved in harassing the civilians, disrupting normal life and killing of non-locals, attacking truck drivers last year and abducting policemen,” GoC (Victor Force) Maj Gen A Sengupta said at a press conference, adding that the four Hizb terrorists were killed without any collateral damage in a four-hour-long operation.
The slain were identified as Hizb commander Omar Dohbi who was active since 2018; Rais Khan who joined the organisation last year; Saklan and Wakil Naikoo.
There are around 25 foreign and 100 local terrorists active in south Kashmir, GoC of Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen BS Raju said on Monday.
Sengupta said the Army has been working relentlessly with police to eliminate terrorists disrupting normal life and “coercing locals to give them shelter”. Referring to Sunday’s operation in Reben, Sengupta said, “It was a congested area and ensuring no collateral damage was a challenge. Some 14 houses were evacuated. Around 7am, contact was established with the terrorists who were killed after a fierce gunbattle. There was no damage to civilian property.”
About the surge in ceasefire violations along the Line of Control by Pakistan army, DGP Singh said Pakistan is trying to infiltrate terrorists into India under the shade of these breaches of truce. Attempts are also being made to drop ammunition with drones, which have been averted by security forces, he added.
In a bid to destroy peace in J&K, Pakistan is sponsoring different terror outfits and a large number of social media sites are being used by Pak agencies and handlers to lure Kashmiri youth into militancy, DGP Singh said, adding that “police and intelligence agencies are foiling such attempts” and their efforts coupled with citizens’ cooperation have successfully kept youngsters from choosing the path of violence.
Despite snowfall, Pakistan’s infiltration attempts continue and terror launching pads are also intact. Intelligence reports suggest that more than 150 terrorists in Kashmir and around 100-125 in Jammu are waiting to cross over to this side. However, our forces have successfully thwarted all attempts so far and “neutralized the intruders with swift action,” the DGP said.
“Pakistan’s larger game plan is to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir. That is how the relevance of Pakistan army remains within Pakistan. As far as Pakistan’s contribution is concerned in Kashmir, it is a combination of two things — on the physical front inducting weapons along the LoC and the second is information warfare that Pakistan intends to fight,” Lt Gen BS Raju said. He lauded the security forces and locals for the successful twin anti-terror operations in the past 24 hours without any collateral damage.
(with inputs from Sanjay Khajuria in Jammu)