SRINAGAR – Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in a gunfight with state forces in the Tral area of Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Wednesday.
State forces launched a cordon and search operation in Tral late Tuesday night following information about the presence of militants there, they said.
During searches, a gunfight broke out between militants and forces, police said.
“Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed in an operation in the Tral area,” Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh told reporters here.
Singh said the slain militants have been identified as Jehangir Ahmad Wani, who had taken over the command of the outfit in the area after the killing of Hammad, Raja Umer Maqbool and Sadaat Ahmad Thokar.
He said arms and ammunition was recovered from the encounter site which included two AK rifles, a pistol and two grenades.
Twenty-three militants have been eliminated in various encounters since last month, the DGP said.
He said Wani and Maqbool were involved in several “terror crimes”, including killing of two civilians.
“They were also involved in incidents of arson including a firing incident at a mosque and burning of a shop and a truck,” Singh said.
He said while 19 militants have been killed in eight operations in Kashmir, four were killed in two operations in the Jammu region since January this year.
“So far, we have had 10 successful operations in Jammu and Kashmir in 2020 in which 23 militants have been eliminated,” the DGP said.
“Besides, we have also arrested 40 overground workers who were involved in grenade throwing incidents or facilitating the militants in the valley,” he added.
Singh said it was heartening that eight youths, who had left homes to join militant ranks, have been reunited with their families after realising the futility of their decision.
“We have ensured that there is no collateral damage during the operations. The fresh recruitment into militant ranks is next to nil. The life in Kashmir is normal and police will make all efforts to contribute in keeping it that way,” he added.
No Clean Chit To Youth Injured In Lawaypora Gunfight: IGP
A senior police officer on Wednesday said that no clean chit has been given to a youth, Umar Fayaz, who was injured in an encounter that left two militants dead in Srinagar outskirts on February 5.
Rejecting reports about the clean chit, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir range Vijay Kumar said that he will be arrested and questioned once he recovers from the injured incurred during the encounter.
“No clean chit has been given to Fayaz. He has been sent home as he is recovering from bullet injuries. Once he recovers, he will be arrested and questioned about his involvement with the militants,” Kumar told reporters during a press conference here on Wednesday.
Two militants — Khateeb Ahmad Dass of Bijbehara and Zia-u-Rehman Wani of Aarath Budgam — were killed while Fayaz was injured in an encounter with state forces at Lawaypora in city outskirts. A CRPF trooper was also killed in the shootout on February 5.
Shortly after the encounter, police and CRPF in a joint press conference claimed to have arrested an injured militant. However, family members of Fayaz claimed that he owns a grocery store in the area and was hit by a bullet while he was standing outside his shop when the encounter happened.