Srinagar: Lateef Tiger, the only surviving member of Burhan Wani group, is among the three militants killed in a fierce fire fight with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Shopian district on Friday.
Wani, the 22-year-old Internet savvy poster boy of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, was along with two associates killed by the Army in Kokernag area of Anantnag district on July 8, 2016, triggering widespread unrest in the Kashmir and parts of Chenab valley of Jammu region.
The officials said that the fighting broke out in Adkhara village of Shopian’s Imam Sahib area at dawn on Friday after the security forces, including the Army’s 34 Rashtriya Rifles, J&K police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), laid siege to the area on learning about the presence of the Hizb militants in a private house.
A police spokesman, while confirming one of the slain militants was Lateef Ahmad Dar alias Tiger, said that he was a close associate of Burhan Wani and was active in south Kashmir since 2014. The two other militants killed with him have been identified as Tariq Ahmed Sheikh alias Mufti Waqas alias Tariq Moulvi and Shariq Ahmed Nengroo, both local residents.
The officials said that one Army soldier was injured during the fighting. The residential house in which the militants had been holed up was completely and two adjacent houses were partially damaged in the security forces’ final assault against them, the local sources said.
The killing of militants sparked off protests by surging crowds who soon clashed with security forces near the encounter site. The security forces fired teargas canisters and pellet shotguns to quell stone-pelting mobs, leaving, at least, 17 persons injured. Three of them have been brought to Srinagar for specialized treatment.
As the word about the killing of the Hizb militants spread, traders brought their shutters down and transport services were withdrawn from the roads in most parts of Shopian and Pulwama. The authorities immediately snapped mobile Internet services in south Kashmir whereas train services through the area have also been suspended.
A handout issued by the police here said that, as per police records, Lateef Tiger had a long history of crime records since 2014 and was involved in planning and executing several attacks in the area. It said that similarly, Tariq also had a long history of crime records and was involved in several attacks. About Shariq, it said that he too was involved in several attacks.