5 mil­i­tants dead in en­counter in south Kash­mir

LeT, Hizbul mil­i­tants among dead; forces re­cover weapons, war­like stores from en­counter site

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Front Page - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

SRINAGAR: Five mil­i­tants be­lieved to be part of Hizbul Mu­jahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba were killed in a gun­fight with se­cu­rity forces in south Kash­mir’s Kul­gam dis­trict, the po­lice said on Sun­day, mak­ing it the dead­li­est in­ci­dent of vi­o­lence in the Val­ley this year. Five AK-47 ri­fles and other am­mu­ni­tion were re­cov­ered from the site, po­lice said. Soon af­ter the eight-hour op­er­a­tion, clashes broke out be­tween the forces and lo­cals, who al­legedly be­gan pelt­ing stones.

SRINAGAR: Five mil­i­tants of the Hizbul Mu­jahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba were killed in a gun­fight with se­cu­rity forces in south Kash­mir’s Kul­gam dis­trict, the po­lice said on Sun­day, hours af­ter this year’s dead­li­est in­ci­dent of vi­o­lence in the Val­ley.

A joint party of the army, po­lice, and the Cen­tral Re­serve Po­lice Force (CRPF) launched a cor­don and search op­er­a­tion early on Sun­day af­ter in­for­ma­tion about the pres­ence of mil­i­tants in Kel­lam area.

Kul­gam se­nior su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice Harmeet Singh Me­hta said forces had in­for­ma­tion that the mil­i­tants were hid­ing in a house, which was cor­doned off be­fore sun­rise and the mil­i­tants were asked to sur­ren­der.“They did not pay heed and opened fire af­ter which we re­tal­i­ated,” said Me­hta.

“The en­counter con­tin­ued for about eight hours. Five mil­i­tants were killed and five AK-47 ri­fles and other am­mu­ni­tion were re­cov­ered from them. The house in which they were hid­ing was also dam­aged,”he said.

Army spokesper­son Col Ra­jesh Kalia said the forces re­cov­ered weapons and war­like stores from the en­counter site.

A po­lice spokesper­son said all mil­i­tants were lo­cal res­i­dents and part of a com­bined group of the home­grown Hizbul Mu­jahideen and the Pak­istan­based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

They were iden­ti­fied as Waseem Ah­mad Rather, Aqib Nazir Mir, Par­vaiz Ah­mad Bhat, Idrees Ah­mad Bhat and Zahid Ah­mad Par­ray. The spokesper­son said Waseem, Aqib and Par­vaiz were in­volved in the killings of a civil­ian and a lo­cal army­man. “This group of ter­ror­ists was also in­volved in var­i­ous grenade at­tack in­ci­dents across Anant­nag and Kul­gam dis­tricts for which cases stand reg­is­tered in con­cerned Po­lice Sta­tions,” the spokesman said.

Clashes broke out near the en­counter site af­ter lo­cal peo­ple al­legedly pelted stones at the forces. Au­thor­i­ties stopped in­ter­net ser­vices in the area to stop fur­ther es­ca­la­tion of ten­sion.Rafi Ah­mad Salati, Kul­gam’s block med­i­cal of­fi­cer, said about 20 peo­ple were in­jured by pel­lets. “While eight were treated at the dis­trict hos­pi­tal, six each were taken to Anant­nag hos­pi­tal and Ke­lam health cen­tres. The in­jured are stable,” he said. The po­lice asked peo­ple not to ven­ture near the en­counter zone and re­quested them to co­op­er­ate with the po­lice un­til the area was com­pletely sani­tised and cleared of all ex­plo­sive ma­te­ri­als. Sep­a­ratist leader Mir­waiz Umar Fa­rooq tweeted, “Deeply sad­dened by the mar­tyr­dom of 5 young boys in #Kul­gam as the tyranny of #Oper­a­tionAl­lOut, #CASO (cor­don and search op­er­a­tions) con­tin­ues against the peo­ple of #SouthKash­mir, pel­leted in­jured and blinded even in such harsh win­ter by the bru­tal and ruth­less In­dian state.”

Kash­mir wit­nessed 10 gun­fights be­tween mil­i­tants and se­cu­rity forces in 2019. The op­er­a­tions have led to the killing of 25 mil­i­tants, while a po­lice­man too was killed in a mil­i­tant at­tack.

The en­counter con­tin­ued for about eight hours. Five mil­i­tants were killed and five AK-47 ri­fles re­cov­ered... HARMEET SINGH ME­HTA,

SSP, Kul­gam

PTI

Army per­son­nel out­side the house in south Kash­mir’s Kul­gam dis­trict where the mil­i­tants were hid­ing. The house was cor­doned off by se­cu­rity forces be­fore the gun bat­tle.

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