Encounters in Ramban, Ganderbal: 4 militants, soldier killed in twin gunfights

Indian soldiers gearing up for a gunfight. (File Photo: IANS)

Srinagar, Sep 28: A day after United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) session, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed two major encounters – one at Batote, Ramban on Jammu-Srinagar highway and another one at Kangan in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district – in which four militants and a soldier were killed. 

In Batote encounter, a police official said that three militants and a soldier were killed while as an unidentified militant was killed in Kangan area of Ganderbal where joint operation of security forces was on till this report was filed.

The official said that in Batote a BJP worker, who was held hostage by the militants, was rescued.

He said that the militant group, believed to be five in number,was cornered when they tried to stop a vehicle most probably with an aim to hijack it at Batote.

The trapped terrorists had fired at the Quick Reaction Team (QRT) of the Army in the morning and tried to escape but were chased by the security forces and encircled in a house, he said.

The officials said the fresh exchange of fire started between the holed up militants and the security forces at around 1 pm after intense search operation despite inclement weather.

“The militants took shelter in a house where they held Vijay Kumar Verma, booth president of the BJP as a hostage. We took our time and first rescued Verma before launching the final assault against militants,” he added.

 News agency KNO quoted Inspector General of Police Jammu range, Mukesh Singh saying that three militants were killed in the encounter. “But we lost a soldier and two policemen were injured in the gunfight,” he said.

The Batote encounter came just a day after UNGA session where Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The encounter also comes at a time when multiple intelligence agencies had warned the government that at least 60 militants have infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir in the last few weeks alone and another 500 were waiting to sneak in.

Meanwhile, another encounter took place at Gangbal area of Kangan in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, an area close to Gurez-Bandipora ridge, a traditional infiltration pass, where one militant was killed.

“One militant has been killed so far and the joint operation is on. Weather is not favorable as it is raining heavily in the area,” an army official said.

Meanwhile, a grenade was lobbed at a CRPF party at Nawakadal area of Srinagar that exploded without causing any damage. 

National Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval, on Thursday asked the troops to be on high alert in view of the reports that militant outfits may carry out some “demonstrative and sensational acts of terror”. (With inputs from KNO and PTI)

Mastermind of Parihar assassination killed: Police

Press Trust of India

Jammu, Sep 28: A top Hizbul Mujahideen ‘commander’, wanted in connection with the assassination of a senior BJP leader and an RSS functionary, was killed along with two other militants in a nine-hour operation in which a soldier lost his life in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, officials said.

The militants, identified as Osama and his associates Zahid and Farooq, were killed after they tried to escape from a house where they had barged in while being chased by security forces following a brief exchange of fire in Batote area along Jammu-Kishtwar national highway early Saturday morning, they said, adding a house-owner was also rescued after the encounter ended.

Osama, as per officials, was the brain behind several incidents including the killings of senior BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar on November 1, 2018 and RSS functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO on April 9.

He was carrying a reward of several lakhs of rupees and was also wanted in three weapon snatching incidents in Kishtwar town, which was declared militant-free over a decade ago.

“All the three militants were killed in the gunfight, while an army soldier achieved martyrdom,” Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand told PTI.

The deceased soldier was identified as Naik Rajinder Singh from Jaisalmer.

Two policemen were injured in the gunbattle, officials said, adding a huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered from the possession of the militant. The success for security forces comes days after Inspector General of Police, Jammu, Mukesh Singh said that four cases of killings and weapon snatching in Kishtwar district have been solved with the arrest of three Hizbul Mujahideen activists.

While naming Osama and five other militants, the IGP had on September 23 said the security forces are after them and they will be brought to book soon.

As the pressure on militants increased in Kishtwar, Osama and the other two militants tried to escape from the district and had reportedly spent the night at an abandoned temporary shelter on the highway before being confronted by security forces, the officials said.

“Today (Saturday) morning at about 7.30 am, two suspicious individuals tried to stop a civilian vehicle at the general area Batote on the highway. The driver was alert, did not stop the vehicle and rushed and informed the nearest Army post. “The quick reaction team reacted promptly and contact was established with the suspicious individuals,” Lt Col Anand said.

Following a brief encounter at Dharmund village of Batote this morning, the fleeing militants intruded into a residential house with some shops on the ground floor, the officials said adding the house was immediately cordoned off by search parties comprising Army, police and CRPF and the encounter re-started at around 1 pm. The elderly house owner, Vijay Kumar, was “trapped” in the house while rest of his family managed to come out and were subsequently evacuated to safety, the officials said.

Kumar, who locals claimed was a BJP worker, was rescued after the encounter ended. Earlier, a police spokesman said that they had information about the presence of five militants in the house based on the inputs provided by the rescued family.

“Repeated attempts were made to make the militants surrender but they tried to buy time so that they can make an attempt to flee the house by taking advantage of darkness later in the day,” an official said adding when the cordon was being tightened, the militants fired indiscriminately. Later, they came out of the house while firing indiscriminately on the forces but were eliminated in the encounter.

The movement of traffic on the highway was stopped following the incident as a precautionary measure, they said adding the traffic will be restored as soon as possible once the area is sanitised.

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