A HIZBUL Mujahideen (HM) militant, who helped slain Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Naveed Jatt escape from a Srinagar hospital last year, was killed in an encounter between militants and security forces in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district in the early hours of Tuesday. In the gunbattle, one Army soldier was also killed, while another sustained injuries, police said.
The Armyman who died was identified as Baljeet Singh (35), a resident of Karnal in Haryana.
Earlier, security forces launched a Cordon and Search Operation in Ratnipora area of Pulwama in the intervening night of February 11 and 12 following the presence of militants in the area.
“During the searches, the search party was fired upon by terrorists. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight,” a J&K police spokesperson said.
The slain militant was identified as Hilal Ahmad Rather, a resident of Begambagh Kakapora in Pulwama district. Police sources said he had joined the militant ranks in early 2018.
During the exchange of fire, two Army men sustained injuries and were taken to hospital. However, one of them, Baljeet Singh, succumbed to his injuries.
The police spokesperson said incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition, were also recovered from the site of the encounter.
Soon after the encounter, locals clashed with the security forces near the encounter site.
According to police, Hilal, the slain militant, “had a long history of terror crime records” and was wanted in a series of cases.
One of the cases was an attack at the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) in Srinagar, in which two police personnel were killed and LeT commander Naveed Jatt managed to escape.
Jatt would be killed in an encounter with police on November 28, 2018 in Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Law and Order and Security, Munir Khan told The Indian Express that Hilal was the main conspirator in the SMHS case. “He was also present that day at the hospital,” said Khan. —With PTI inputs