Srinagar, Dec 9: The intense 18-hour-long gunfight that began Saturday evening in Mujgund area on Srinagar outskirts ended Sunday morning with the killing of the third militant even as a huge battery of government forces blasted multiple houses and shacks near the gunfight site.
The slain militants included two local teenagers – Mudasir Rashid (14) son of Abdul Rashid Parray, and Saqib Bilal Sheikh (17) son of Bilal Ahmad Sheikh, both residents of Hajin area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
The two were missing since August 31 with their families repeatedly appealing the duo to return and vainly asking also the authorities to trace them.
The third militant, as per a spokesperson of the J&K police, was “learnt to be a Pakistani identified as Ali”.
The three militants, the spokesperson said, were affiliated with Lashkar-e-Taiba militant outfit.
The bodies of two locals teenager militants have been handed over to the family for last rites and according to the family, both of them would be interred on Monday.
Briefing about the encounter, he said a joint search operation was launched on Saturday by police, CRPF and army based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Mujgund.
“During the search operation, the search party was fired upon by the hiding militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight. In the initial exchange of fire one army trooper sustained injuries and was shifted to hospital for medical treatment,” the spokesperson said.
“In the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter,” he said adding: “Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter.”
The area, as per the local reports, boomed with loud thuds throughout the Saturday night and Sunday morning as government forces used massive gunfire to kill the lone militant, apparently the foreigner among the trio.
He, as per the reports, kept the forces on tenterhooks by changing locations and kept firing intermittently from different directions.
The two other militants had already been killed late Saturday evening but the forces were not able to retrieve their bodies until the encounter ended.
At least five forces personnel, the reports added, were injured in the exchange of fire although the police only confirmed injuries to one army trooper.
“Three civilians also sustained injuries as the area was in open and the injured were shifted to hospital for medical treatment. They are stated to be stable,” the police spokesperson said.
“Huge quantity of arms and ammunition including rifles were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and probe their complicity in other cases,” the spokesperson added.
“Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any,” he said.
Intense clashes occurred in Mujgund area between civilians and government forces during and after the gunfight.
Several persons were injured during the clashes as scores of youth, as per reports, took to streets after the news of gunfight spread in the area.
Reports said that the injured were shifted to SKIMS Soura and SMHS hospital for treatment.
They added two youth with bullet injuries were brought to SKIMS Soura and three youth were admitted at SMHS hospital one of them with bullet injuries in left thigh while two have suffered pellet injuries.
The injured were identified as Altaf Ahmed Shagoo son of Ghulam Ahmed Shagoo, Shabir Ahmad both residents of HMT and Muneer Ahmad Sheikh of Mujgund.
Clashes also broke out between the protesters and the government forces in Hajin after the news spread about the killing of the local teenager militants.
Reports said that groups of youth took to streets and staged protests soon after the news of the killing reached Hajin.
The youth hurled stones on the forces deployed in the area to prevent protests.
The forces, according to witnesses, resorted to tear gas shelling and pellet firing to disperse the protesting youth.
Jaish almost wiped out, no one willing to head it: Army
Srinagar, Apr 24: Army on Wednesday claimed the government forces have “severely targeted” the militants for the last few months and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant outfit was “almost wiped out with no one willing to take over it”.
Addressing a press conference here, GOC 15 Corps, KJS Dhillon, who was accompanied by Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir SP Pani, and IG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan, said that 69 militants have been killed and 12 of them arrested so far this year.
“Post Pulwama incident, 41 militants have been killed and out of them 25 belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, 13 of them were Pakistanis while 13 were A+ category,” Dhillon said.
The GOC 15 Corps claimed that they have targeted JeM leadership.
“The situation now is so that no one is coming forward to take over the leadership of JeM in the valley,” he said.
“Even after Pakistan’s best efforts, we will continue to suppress JeM. The operations against the militants will continue with full vigour and we will not let militancy rise up,” he said, while appealing the local militants to surrender.
“Recruitment of local militants has gone down. In addition, those who surrender, we will take care of their security,” he said.
Dhillon also advised civilians not to rush to the encounter sites.
Asked about the bi-weekly restrictions on civilian traffic on the Highway, he replied, “This is just a temporary measure. There are now relaxations on the civilian traffic.”
On the occasion, the DGP said 272 militants were killed in the state during 2018 and a “large number was apprehended.”
He too claimed that the local recruitment in militant outfits had declined.
“2018 was generally a successful year. There has been less ‘law and order’ problem. We brought many youth (who had joined militancy) back to their homes,” the DGP claimed.
“Elections have been conducted peacefully in the state because of a well-planned security grid. Voter turnover at 13 percent in Anantnag district is not less. People voted despite threats, no one can be forced to vote,” he said.
Asked there were reports that 11 youth had gone missing in south Kashmir during the last one month, the IGP Kashmir said, “Few had gone missing but returned. They had gone missing for other reasons, not to join militancy.”
Held Pak militant paraded before media
‘Chota Dujana was active in Srinagar for over a year’
Srinagar, Apr 24: Police on Wednesday presented a Pakistani militant Mohammad Waqar, alias Chota Dujana before the media, who, they claimed, was arrested from Pattan area in Baramulla on Monday.
During a press conference here, the militant was briefly allowed to respond to media.
“My name is Mohammad Waqar, resident of Miana Mohalla Punjab in Pakistan. I underwent a four-month militant training there,” he said.
“I was told that Kashmiris are harassed, women are assaulted and Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers in Masjids. But I did not find any such thing here,” he replied when asked why had he picked up arms.
The militant was soon moved away.
SSP Baramulla, Abdul Wahid, said Waqar was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba and had arrived in Kashmir in July 2017.
“He was operating in Srinagar for over a year now,” the officer said.
He added that the militant was travelling in a vehicle along with a Kashmiri when they were intercepted by the police near Mirgund, Pattan.
“They were chased and arrested near Chainabal Pattan,” he said.
The SSP said that as per their preliminary investigations, the militant was given shelter in old city as well as uptown areas of Srinagar.
“His plan was to resurrect militancy in Baramulla,” Wahid said.
Malik sent to judicial custody till May 24
New Delhi, Apr 24: A Delhi court Wednesday sent the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, arrested in connection with the alleged funding case, to judicial custody till May 24.
The Tihar jail authorities have also moved an application seeking direction to produce Malik through video conferencing due to security concerns.
The family of Yasin Malik, said on Saturday, that the JKLF chief had fallen ill and was shifted to a Delhi hospital after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his “illegal” detention.
Earlier this month, Malik was brought to Delhi from Jammu and was later arrested by NIA in connection with an alleged case related to the funding of militant and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was produced in a special court which remanded him in NIA’s custody till April 22.
Malik was shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail after NIA secured his production remand. The JKLF chief was taken into preventive custody in February by the J&K police and lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.
Malik organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre.