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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hizb group of Chief Minister’s hometown wiped out

3 militants killed in Anantnag, one more in Kupwara encounter 

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Nov 23: Set up in Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s hometown of Bijbehara, a fresh group of three Hizbul Mujahideen militants was wiped out by Jammu and Kashmir Police and Army in a gunbattle on Monday in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gilani, told STATE TIMES that the operation was launched by Police and security forces on specific information about the presence of three militants received by Police from its sources in the afternoon. Anantnag District Police and troops of a unit of Rashtriya Rifles 3rd battalion participated in the operation. According to the tip off, three militants were hiding at Tantraypora hamlet of Siligam in Mattan area of Anantnag district.

IGP said that all three militants got killed in the encounter that started after they opened fire and refused to respond to offers of surrender. They were later identified as Tanvir Ahmad Bhat s/o Mubarak Ahmad Bhat of Baba Mohalla Bijbehara, Adil Ahmad Sheikh s/o Fayaz Ahmad Sheikh of Sheikh Mohalla Bijbehara and Sartaj Ahmad Lone s/o Ghulam Mohammad Lone of Wopzan Bijbehara.

Three AK-47 riffles, one pistol and one UBGL were recovered from the site of the encounter.

IGP said that the three slain militants were part of a six-member group of Hizbul Mujahideen set up in Bijbehara area in the current year. “We have eliminated three of them and search is underway for remaining three of them”, IGP said.

According to Police records, Aadil Sheikh was involved in the killing of Constable Arif Nazir Khan of Police Station Bijbehara on 16th June this year. With that action, he had joined Hizbul Mujahideen. Tanveer Ahamd Bhat, who lived in Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s neighbourhood of Baba Mohalla and belonged to a business family, was involved in the killing of a civilian Javed Ahamd Sofi alias Waza son of Mohammad Ismail resident of Bijbehara on March 22, 2015. He too had joined militancy with that very strike. Sartaj Ahmad Lone had joined militant ranks just 10 days ago.

Even as a number of militancy related incidents and encounters have occurred in South Kashmir on right side of Srinagar-Jammu highway in the last three years, it was after several years that a gunbattle took place and three militants died in the encounter on the left side of the highway, on Khannabal-Pahalgam Road, perceived to be free of militancy.

Clashes in Anantnag

Bodies were handed over to the families in the evening amid spontaneous shutdown in Khannabal-Mattan-Bijbehara belt.

Reports from Anantnag said that hundreds of people came out of different villages. They boarded vehicles and while shouting pro-Azadi slogans attempted to march to Siligam. However, Police swung into action and foiled their attempted to gather in Bijbehara and Mattan areas. Thereafter, several groups of the demonstrators resorted to intense stone pelting and traffic came to a halt on the highway.

Traffic was reportedly diverted and restored after clashes for about two hours. Sources said that funeral prayers of the three militants would be held at Bijbehara at around 10.00 a.m on Tuesday. 

Geelani calls shutdown

Chairman of Hurriyat Conference’s radical group Syed Ali Shah Geelani paid tributes to the slain militants in a statement and called for shutdown in Kashmir valley for Tuesday. Chairman of Hurriyat’s moderate faction Mirwaiz Umar Farooq too paid tributes to the three militants in a separately issued statement.
Meanwhile, Defence spokesman said that in the Army’s 10-day-long operation in Manigah forest area of Kupwara, one militant died today in an encounter. He said that the operation would continue until remaining two to three militants of the group would be neutralised. One unidentified militant’s body with an AK rifle was spotted and recovered on November 10 in the same area. He was believed to have died of severe cold. Later a Commanding Officer of a battalion also died and a soldier sustained injuries in another encounter in Manigah.

The spokesman said that a Lieutenant Colonel and a soldier, who got injured in an encounter in the same area on Sunday, were stable at Army’s Base Hospital in Srinagar. Lt Colonel has been hit in his jaw.

Militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba had last evening claimed that Lt Colonel had been killed in the encounter. However, spokesman of the outfit today withdrew the claim and said that the officer was injured and alive. 

“All the militants who were involved in the encounter with Indian army will be awarded Rs 25 lakh each. The army Lieutenant colonel has been injured, not killed,” LeT spokesman Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi said in a statement e-mailed to STATE TIMES. He said that the outfit’s leadership had appreciated the guerrilla warfare strategies of the new LeT commander Abu Musa in Kashmir.


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