SRINAGAR: Six terrorists, including two Lashkar-e-Taiba men holed up in a mosque since Thursday evening, were killed early on Friday in simultaneous cordon-and-search operations by security forces in
districts of south Kashmir.
At Meej in Pulwama's Pampore town, the joint team of the police, Army and CRPF used what DGP Dilbagh Singh described as "unusual tactics" to avoid collateral damage while going after the two Lashkar terrorists hiding inside the local Jamia Masjid. The duo had run inside the shrine from a nearby hideout after security forces shot dead one of their accomplices on Thursday.
"The field commanders exercised a lot of restraint and kept the area under cordon through the night. I am glad to see local people hailing security agencies for carrying out a clean operation without any damage to the shrine. Many videos showing how the operation was conducted have gone viral," the DGP said.
In Shopian district, four terrorists belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar were gunned down in an operation that had started the previous evening at Bandpawa village in Chitragam tehsil. The body of a fifth terrorist reported killed on Thursday was found along with those shot dead on Friday.
Addressing a joint presser with the DGP at the military headquarters here, 15 Corps commander Lt Gen BS Raju said: "Around 102 terrorists have been killed in dozens of operations over the past few months. They include 50 from the Hizbul Mujahideen alone and 20 each of the Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba. The rest were from smaller outfits like Ansaar Gazwat-ul-Hind and Al-Badr."
Lt Gen Raju attributed the counter-terrorism successes in Pulwama and Shopian, including the two operations conducted in the past 24 hours, to a combination of precise intelligence inputs and coordination between various security agencies. "Within the next few months, we will try to ensure that normalcy is fully restored across the Valley and people are able to resume the activities of their choice in a peaceful manner," he said.
While security forces have achieved only "limited success" in persuading terrorists to surrender, recruitment to various outfits has been controlled, the 3 Corps commander said. "We have been able to prevent new recruitment and also identity those behind it. My appeal to people across Kashmir is to come forward and help us prevent youth from treading the wrong path and bring back those who have picked up arms. We assure them of proper rehabilitation."
DGP Singh said that out of 49 local youths who had joined various outfits this year, 27 were killed in encounters with security forces. "It doesn’t give us pleasure to kill young boys. But if anybody picks up arms, we will do what we are doing," he said.