Jammu & Kashmir Newsfeed

Shopian encounter: How a mosque was saved and five militants killed

Shopian encounter: How a mosque was saved and five militants killed-The Dispatch
A mosque, which was partially damaged during a gunbattle in Shopian. (Source; Twitter)

Srinagar:  The militants were inside the mosque and security forces, as well as a host of anxious locals, outside.

The situation in Kashmir’s Shopian town was volatile and the challenge was to flush out the five men while protecting the place of worship but it was mission accomplished’, officials said on Saturday.

A mosque, which was partially damaged during a gunbattle in Shopian. (Source: Twitter)

Enabling the successful effort, which culminated in what was the first time in more than 20 years that five terrorists were gunned down in the restive south Kashmir town, were the parents of the terrorists and prominent citizens of the area, the officials said, counting up to 17 appeals made to them to surrender peacefully.

As the tension built up over the hours between Thursday night and Friday afternoon, the loudspeaker rang out intermittently with appeals from the parents of the terrorists holed up inside the Jama Masjid, citizens and Army personnel.

Groups of people were also sent inside to negotiate with the men to come out peacefully, officials recounted.

A mosque, which was partially damaged during a gunbattle in Shopian. (Source: Twitter)

That didn’t happen. Finally, on Friday afternoon, the last of the five men of the banned Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGuH), a shadow group of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, were gunned down and with minimal damage to the mosque.

Narrating the events of the day, officials said the forces of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles and Jammu and Kashmir Police were undeterred by the terrorists refusal to surrender and moved closer to the mosque.

Against the established practice of maintaining safe distance from the target area, Army officers took the decision to move towards the mosque. The intention was to engage in pinpoint and not random, distant firing.

“Our main concern was to preserve the sanctity of the masjid while neutralising the terrorists.

 This exposed our troops to high degree of risk while engaging with the terrorists, who were heavily armed,” says Maj Gen Rashim Bali, General officer in Command of Victor Force that looks after militancy in South and central Kashmir.

He said the message had to be firm that “picking up weapons against the state is not an option and would be suitably responded to”.

The operation against the men started in the dead of night at 1 am on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday following an intelligence tip-off that five terrorists were hiding inside the mosque. Within no time, the area was sealed and many civilians evacuated to safer places, officials said.

While three of the terrorists were killed by dawn, the other two were gunned down at 2 pm on Friday. The Army had deployed drones to keep a close watch on the movements of the terrorists.

Officials said the parents of one of the terrorists, the brother of another and a prominent citizen were sent inside the mosque to ask them to give up arms but to no avail. At one point, a terrorist fired at a citizen who asked them to surrender in order to ensure the mosque is not damaged.

The terrorists, officials said, also attempted to set ablaze a portion of the mosque in their attempt to flee.

After the operation, the troops cleared and cleaned the mosque and handed over all the religious books to the local administration to stem rumours about some books being desecrated.

This was the first time that terrorists were cornered inside the mosque in Shopian town. The last big encounter in Shopian was in the late 1990s when four terrorists were killed.

 

Support Ethical Journalism. Support The Dispatch

The Dispatch is a sincere effort in ethical journalism. Truth, Accuracy, Independence, Fairness, Impartiality, Humanity and Accountability are key elements of our editorial policy. But we are still not able to generate great stories, because we don’t have adequate resources. As more and more media falls into corporate and political control, informed citizens across the world are funding independent journalism initiatives. Here is your chance to support your local media startup and help independent journalism survive. Click the link below to make a payment of your choice and be a stakeholder in public spirited journalism


 

The Dispatch is present across a number of social media platforms. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for exciting videos; join us on Facebook, Intagram and Twitter for quick updates and discussions. We are also available on the Telegram. Follow us on Pinterest for thousands of pictures and graphics. We care to respond to text messages on WhatsApp at 8082480136 [No calls accepted]. To contribute an article or pitch a story idea, write to us at [email protected] |Click to know more about The Dispatch, our standards and policies