A day after an encounter between security forces and militants in the Yaripora area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district, the two militants slain were identified as members of the Al-Badr outfit, including the group’s Kashmir chief. A J&K police spokesperson said Sunday one of the militants was Zeenat-ul-Islam alias Zeenat alias Usman, the chief of Al-Badr in the Valley. The other was identified as Shakeel Ahmad Dar. Both were residents of Shopian district. After the encounter, mobile internet was suspended in Kulgam.
“Both the killed terrorists were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit Al-Badr and were wanted for their complicity in a series of terror crimes, including attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities,” the spokesperson said.
Police said Zeenat was associated with the Al-Badr outfit since 2006 and was later arrested. After his release, he “again got recycled in 2016 and subsequently got affiliated with proscribed terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen”. However, he recently rejoined Al-Badr and consequently became the chief of the outfit, the spokesperson said.
According to the police, several “terror crime cases were registered against him”. A senior police officer told The Indian Express on Sunday that the killing of Zeenat was a “big success” for security forces. “His killing is a success for us and a setback for militants,” said the officer.
The officer said his name had cropped up during investigations of several IED blasts that took place in south Kashmir.
Later on Sunday, heavy clashes broke out in parts of Shopian district during the funeral of slain militant. Security forces reportedly used tear gas, pellets, and bullets to disperse the protestors. Health officials in Pulwama and Shopian said that they received 12 people with different nature of injuries. Dr Rashid Para, medical superintendent at the district hospital Pulwama, said some of the patients had been admitted with bullet and pellet injuries, and five patients were shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment.
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “Reports of aerial firing at Sugan Shopian to stop the crowd from participating in the funeral prayers of a local militant , are very unfortunate and disturbing . Such interference in the religious affairs is undesirable and may backfire leading to further anger and alienation.”