2 Hizb ‘Hit Squad’ Members Killed In South Kashmir

AFTERMATH: A family salvages belongings from the damaged house after the encounter. KO Photo, Abid Bhat

Srinagar: Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants — part of a hit squad of the outfit and responsible for ‘civilian killings’ — were killed in an encounter with government forces in Pulwama district on Friday, police said.

The government forces launched a cordon and search operation at Khrew in the Pampore area of the district following information about the presence of militants there, a police spokesman said.

“During the search operation as the presence of terrorists got ascertained they were given repeated opportunities to surrender. However, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which retaliated leading to an encounter,” he said.

In the ensuing encounter, two militants of Hizbul Mujahideen were killed and their bodies retrieved from the site of the gunbattle, the spokesman said.

He identified them as Musaib Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Khrew Pampore, and Muzamil Ahmad Rather, a resident of Chakura Pulwama.

As per police records, Bhat had a history of “terror crime” records and was involved in planning and executing several “terror attacks including civilian atrocities”, the spokesman said.

“He was also involved in the killing of a civilian, Javid Ahmad Malik (peon), at Lurgan area of Tral and part of a hit squad of Hizbul Mujahideen responsible for civilian killing in South Kashmir,” he said.

Rather had joined the militant ranks recently, he added.

Incriminating material and arms and ammunition, including an AK-rifle and a pistol, were recovered from the site of the encounter, the spokesman said.

The recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe the duo’s complicity in other crimes, he added

Soldier Slips To Death

Reports from Poonch said a soldier died after falling into a gorge during an anti-militancy operation along the higher reaches of Pir Panjal Range in the district.

23-year-old Sepoy Lovepreet Singh, while operating along the higher reaches of Pir Panjal Range in a “deliberately planned” counter militancy operation around 1315 hours, suffered the 40 feet fall into a gorge while negotiating the difficult heights, Jammu bases Defence ministry spokesman said.

“The valiant soldier was acting as guide to the party which was moving along a treacherous route from Jabbiwal to Bagsar (Poonch),” he added.

The slain soldier was a native of Gurdaspur, Punjab. He is survived by his parents.

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