Two militants, including a top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander, were killed during a gunfight with security forces, while another “surrendered” in Kulgam district of south Kashmir on Sunday, police said.
According to the police, the terror outfit’s divisional commander, Shakoor Ahmad Dar, was killed in the operation. Categorised as A+ militant, Dar was on a list of most-wanted militants that was released by the security agencies recently. A resident of Tengpora in Kulgam, he had joined militant ranks in September 2016 after the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani. DGP S P Vaid has confirmed that Dar was the divisional commander of LeT.
The second militant killed in the gunfight has been identified as Muaviya, a Pakistani national.
A joint team of J&K Police, Special Operations Group (SOG), Army and the paramilitary forces had cordoned off Chadder village in Kulgam’s Qaimoh on Sunday following inputs about presence of militants in the area. As the security forces started combing operations in the village, the militants opened fire at the security forces, which triggered a gunfight, the police said.
A third militant, who was injured in the gunfight, “surrendered” before the forces. Police sources identified him as Shakir Ahmad, a local, who had joined militant ranks two months ago.
“…security forces once again motivated a local youth, who had recently joined the terrorist cadre, to surrender today in Kulgam,” said Defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia.
Meanwhile, several youths from Qaimoh and surrounding villages took to streets and lobbed stones at security personnel soon after they launched search operations. Yawar Ahmad (23), resident of Gassipora, was killed as security forces opened fired to quell protests. Over two dozen protestors were also injured in the clash.
Separatists have called for a complete shutdown on Monday against the civilians’ killings.