Updated: July 20, 2021 2:14:27 am
A former policeman-turned-Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant commander was among two militants killed in an overnight encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, the police said on Monday.
The militant commander, Ishfaq Ahmad Dar, was in police’s list of the most-wanted militants from south Kashmir.
According to police, a joint team of J&K Police, Army and paramilitary CRPF launched an operation at Check Sidiq Khan village in Shopian on Sunday night after receiving intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in the village. As the forces zeroed in on them, militants opened fire, trying to break the security cordon, leading to return fire by the forces.
Police said the trapped militants refused to surrender. “In the ensuing encounter, two terrorists of LeT were killed…. They have been identified as Ishfaq Ahmad Dar, a top commander of proscribed terror outfit LeT since 2017, and Majid Iqbal Bhat,” the police said in an official release. “IGP Kashmir (Vijay Kumar) has congratulated the joint team of police and security forces for conducting a successful operation…”
While police said Dar was involved in “several terror crime” incidents, it made no mention of his past. A resident of Heff Shirmal village in Shopian, Dar was a policeman for five years before he deserted and joined the militant ranks in October 2017.
Before deserting the police ranks, Dar was posted at the Police Training Centre in Kathua, Jammu. He was home on leave when he went missing. A few days later, his picture holding a rifle went viral on social media, announcing his joining the militant ranks.
Police said Dar figured in the list of most-wanted militants. “Besides being part of groups involved in several terror crime cases, he was instrumental in planning and executing terror attacks on security establishments, civilian killings and misleading the gullible youth by motivating them to join terrorist folds,” the police said. “He was also involved in the killing of four police personnel at Zainapora (and) killing of two non-local drivers in Shopian.”
According to police, two AK rifles and eight magazines were recovered from the militants killed.
Over the last one month, Kashmir has seen a sudden spurt in gunfights between militants and forces during cordon and search operations. Police said at least 80 militants have been killed in gunfights so far this year.
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