File Photo: KM/Umar Ganie

Srinagar: Hizbul Mujahideen commander Azaad Lelhari was killed on Wednesday during an encounter with the armed forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said.

An army soldier injured during the gunfight also succumbed.

“In the initial firing, two soldiers were injured. One of the injured succumbed to his injuries at the Army’s Base Hospital in Srinagar,” police said.

Police said Lelhari was killed in the joint operation by police, Army and the CRPF in Kamrazipora village.

Later, the body recovered from the encounter site was identified as that of Lelhari, police added.

Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said Lelhari was “involved in the killing of police head constable Anoop Singh on 22 May 2020 at Prichu Pulwama where he fired at a Naka party.”

He said six FIRs were against him for militant related killings. “Earlier he was detained under PSA as OGW and became active again,” the DGP said, adding that charge sheet had been filed against him in two cases earlier.

 “Keeping in view the prevailing pandemic due to COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of people from inherent risk of contracting the infection, the dead body of the killed militant shall be sent to Baramulla for his burial and last rites after completion of medico-legal formalities. The nearest family members of the killed militant were allowed to participate in the last rites at Baramulla,” the police spokesperson said.

 “In this connection a case under relevant sections of law has been registered in Police Station Rajpora and investigation has been initiated,” he added.

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