SRINAGAR: Three militants, including a Lashkar-e-Toiba/TRF commander, were killed in two separate encounters in the Southern district of Pulwama and Hazratbal area of Srinagar on Thursday.
Two soldiers were also injured in the Pulwama encounter.
A police official told that based on a specific input regarding the presence of militants in village Naina, Batpora area of Pulwama, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Police, Army (55RR) and 182Bn CRPF in the area.
“During the search operation as the presence of militants holed-up in a separate structure nearby a local masjid got ascertained, they were given ample opportunities to surrender and repeated appeals were made to them, instead, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party leading to an encounter,” the official said.
A police spokesman said that keeping in view the sanctity of masjid, the joint team exercised maximum restraint to ensure no damage to it and two army personnel sustained splinter injuries during the encounter.
“Both the injured were evacuated to hospital where their condition is stated to be stable,” he said. “In the ensuing encounter, two militants affiliated with LeT were killed and their bodies were recovered from the site of encounter.”
They have been identified as Shahid Ahmed Khan son of Mohi-ud-din Khan, resident of Batpora, Pulwama and Fayaz Sheikh son of Gh Rasool Sheikh, resident of Shahpora, Ganderbal.
“As per police records both the killed militants were categorized militants and were wanted by law in many crime cases,” the spokesman said.
In another incident, outside the revered shrine of Hazratbal, Srinagar, police said that three militants came to snatch a weapon from a policeman guarding the revered shrine, but the attempt was foiled in which a foreign militant was killed while two others managed to flee from the spot.
Police identified the slain as Manzoor alias Haider alias Hamzah, a Pakistani national. “The timely action of small police party who were tracking them led to the elimination of foreign militant. Efforts are on to track the other two militants who fled from the spot. As per police records, the slain foreigner was a close associate of slain commander Mehran of proscribed LeT (TRF) and involved in several criminal cases, including civilian atrocities,” the police spokesman in a statement said.
Talking to reporters outside the Hazratbal shrine, IGP Kashmir said that three militants including a foreign militant came to snatch weapons from a policeman guarding the revered shrine of Hazratbal and in a brief shoot-out, one foreign militant was been killed while two managed to flee from the spot.
“Three militants, including a foreigner who was active for the past six months in Srinagar tried to snatch weapons from a guard at Hazratbal shrine. The alert policeman fired at the militants and foiled the bid. In retaliation, one foreign militant whose video was also viral on social media recently was killed while two others managed to flee who are being tracked down,” IGP Kashmir told reporters, outside the revered shrine of Hazratbal.
He said militants are using religious places to take shelter, but police are very active and will foil all such bids. The IGP said that two local militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba first entered the masjid in Naina, Pulwama and after the initial exchange of fire they took shelter in a nearby structure. “Both were killed,” he said.
ARMY VERSION: Defence Spokesman in Srinagar Colonel Emron Musavi said that security forces established an initial cordon comprising 25 houses at Naina, Batpora, Pulwama. “Systematic search commenced at 7:45 am. During the search, it was discovered that the militants had taken shelter inside a masjid. The militants were spotted to be located in the top floor of the minaret. Simultaneously civilians from nearby houses were evacuated. The security forces maintained continuous surveillance on the movement of the militants,” he said in a statement.
He said that at around 10:10 am, the militants opened indiscriminate fire and lobbed grenades from the top of the minaret onto their own troops in the cordon. “Fire was retaliated by troops who had occupied dominating positions resulting in the neutralisation of two militants. Earlier, the grenade lobbing by the militants caused splinter injuries to three soldiers,” he said—(KNO)