Lashkar Commander, 2 Aides Killed; Soldier Injured in Sopore: Police

KO File Photo By Abid Bhat

Muhammad Raafi

Srinagar: A top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander and his two associates, including a foreigner were killed and a soldier injured in a nightlong gunfight in Sopore town of Baramulla district, police said Monday.

LeT Commander Mudasir Pandith, his aides Khursheed Ahmad Mir of Brath Kalan and a foreigner identified as Abdullah alias Asrar were killed in an overnight encounter with a joint team of police, army and CRPF Gund Brath village of Sopore, a police spokesperson said. The trio, he said, were part of a group involved in various attacks, including the attack at the Municipal office Sopore on March 29 in which two BJP councillors and a policeman were killed.

“They were also involved in an attack on a police party at Main Chowk Sopore on June 12 in which two police personnel and two civilians were killed and two more police personnel and two civilians were injured,” the police spokesperson said.

The encounter, he said, had started after a joint search operation was launched during the intervening night of June 20/21 on the basis of information generated by police about the presence of militants in the village. He said that a soldier was injured in the initial exchange of fire when the militants were given an opportunity to surrender.

Divulging more details about the slain LeT men, he said, Pandith had a long history of militancy including attacks on Police and security personnel and "civilian atrocities"

“He was also involved in an attack on fruit merchants at Dangerpora on September 6, 2019 in which four civilians got injured. Moreover, he was also involved in killing of several ex-militants, Hurriyat activists, Sapanches/Panches in Sopore area,” he said.

Pandith’s aide Mir, the police spokesperson said, was part of this group involved in an attack on CRPF at Lawaypora area of Srinagar on March 25, in which three CRPF personnel got killed. The foreign militant Abdullah alias Asrar, he said, was active in north Kashmir since 2018 and remained the part of the group and several cases were also registered against him for his involvement in civilian atrocities and attacks on Police and state forces.

“Arms, ammunition & other incriminating materials were recovered from the site of the encounter. In this connection police have registered a case under relevant sections of law and investigation has been initiated,” the police spokesperson said.

“People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared off of all the explosive materials, if any,” he added.

Quoting IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar, the police spokesperson said that Police had issued a poster for reward after which a lot of information was received about the militants and it was due to a lot of public support as a result of which militants were pinpointed by police.

“IGP Kashmir thanked people for helping in killing the LeT commander which is a big relief for the local population,” he said, adding that Kumar appealed to the families of militants not to give shelter to them to avoid any trouble.

“He also appealed to youth to stay away from Drugs as narco-militancy was destroying them. He urged parents and society to keep strict vigil on their wards to prevent them falling prey to it,” he added.

Shots Fired At CRPF Party In Shopian

Reports from South Kashmir said unidentified militants on Monday attacked a party of paramilitary CRPF in Shopian district, however no one was injured.

According to reports, unknown militants opened fire upon the personnel of CRPF 178 battalion manning a checkpoint in Babapora village of the district on Monday afternoon. The militants, reports said, fled from the spot after carrying out the attack.

No loss to life or injuries has been reported in the incident.

Soon after the attack, additional reinforcements of police and CRPF reached the area.

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