Sunday, Mar 24, 2019 | Last Update : 10:07 AM IST

Two J&K militants killed, one surrenders; civilian dies

THE ASIAN AGE. | YUSUF JAMEEL
Published : Jun 25, 2018, 1:09 am IST
Updated : Jun 25, 2018, 6:46 am IST

While the firefight was underway, intense clashes erupted between surging crowds and the security forces in the area, reports said.

Dozens of civilians have been killed or injured in security forces’ actions against civilian protesters near encounter sites in the past also, augmenting anger in the local population and leading to widespread protests and strikes in the Kashmir Valley. (Representational image)
 Dozens of civilians have been killed or injured in security forces’ actions against civilian protesters near encounter sites in the past also, augmenting anger in the local population and leading to widespread protests and strikes in the Kashmir Valley. (Representational image)

Srinagar: Ahead of the annual Amarnath pilgrimage beginning June 28, two Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants, including its ‘divisional commander’ for South Kashmir Shakoor Ahmed Dar, were killed and their third accomplice was caught alive during a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Kulgam district on Sunday. The second slain terrorist was a Pakistani national identified as Haider.

While the firefight was underway, intense clashes erupted between surging crowds and the security forces in the area, reports said.

A local youth, identified as Yawar Ahmed Dar, was killed when hit by a bullet in the chest during firing by the security forces, witnesses said.  About a dozen other protesters were injured in the clashes, hospital sources said. The police, however, said that the civilian casualties occurred in crossfire during the encounter.  

The J&K police and Army officials here said that the encounter broke out in Chidder village of Kulgam’s Qaimoh tehsil early Sunday after the security forces, including the Army’s 1, Rashtriya Rifles, the J&K police’s counter-insurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), launched a cordon-and-search operation following inputs about presence of militants.

“In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed while a third one surrendered and was subsequently arrested by the security forces,” a police spokesman said.

Officials said that the trio had been trapped in a private house during the search operation and when the security forces zeroed in on it the militants opened fire, triggering the encounter.

However, one of them Shakir Ahmed subsequently gave up and handed himself over to the security forces. Shakir had joined the LeT a few months ago, police sources said.

Director general of police Shesh Paul Vaid, in a tweet, said, “Two terrorists killed are reportedly Shakoor Dar Divisional Commander LET & one FT (foreign terrorist). Efforts on to establish their identity. Great job boys.”

A police statement said that on the basis of the materials recovered at the site of the encounter “it is understood that one killed terrorist is Shakoor Dar, the divisional commander of LeT, and the other is a Pakistani known as Haider”.

The police said that slain militant Shakoor Ahmed Dar, a resident of Sopat Tengpora, was involved in several terror-related cases registered in different police stations of South Kashmir.

While the encounter was underway, massive clashes between surging crowds and security forces erupted in the area.

Witnesses and police sources said that a huge crowd assembled near the encounter site, chanting pro-freedom slogans apparently to encourage the holed up militants. The security forces initially fired teargas canisters to disperse the crowd but it failed to yield the desired result. As the protesting youth allegedly resorted to stone-pelting the security forces fired live ammunition, including pellet shotguns, injuring more than a dozen protesters.

One of them identified as Yawar Ahmed Dar, a resident of Kulgam’s Gassipora, was died on way to the district hospital in neighbouring Anantnag district, police and hospital sources said.

Meanwhile, a youth injured during a similar clash in Khiram Srigufwara area of Anantnag on June 22 succumbed to injuries in Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) on Sunday. He has been identified as Shahid Nazir Hajam. Four militants, reportedly affiliated to the Islamic State or Daesh, were killed in Friday’s encounter.   

Dozens of civilians have been killed or injured in security forces’ actions against civilian protesters near encounter sites in the past also, augmenting anger in the local population and leading to widespread protests and strikes in the Kashmir Valley.  

The authorities admit that such incidents have also created serious law and order situations. An alliance of key separatist leader called Joint Resistance Leadership has called for a one-day protest strike against “unabated civilian killings” in security forces operations in the Valley on Monday.

Jammu and Kashmir governor N.N. Vohra had on June 20, hours after the state was brought under governor’s rule in the aftermath of the collapse of the PDP-BJP coalition government, urged the Army and other security forces on counterinsurgency assignment to avoid such incidents and other collateral damage during cordon-and-search operations.

Sunday’s encounter is the third major incident along the national highway in recent days. Security forces have been carrying out operations to sanitise the Jammu-Srinagar national highway ahead of the annual Amarnath pilgrimage,  a police official said.

Three militants of Jaish were gunned down in Tral on June 20, four of IS-JK, an affiliate of the banned ISIS terror group, including its chief Dawood Sofi, were killed on June 22.

Meanwhile, Anantnag police on Sunday arrested two alleged over ground workers (OGWs) of a militant outfit and claimed recovering a grenade from them.

In a separate incident at Gobal village, four kilometres from the Kulgam encounter site, people pelted stones at an Army convoy, police said.

The Army fired warning shots into the air, after which shots were fired on the unruly crowd, resulting in the death of a 23-year-old man and pellet injuries to two others, who have been sent to the Anantnag district hospital.

Tags: let militants, j&k police, nn vohra, shesh paul vaid
Location: India, Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar