4 militants killed in 3 separate encounters in Valley

Four militants were killed in three separate gunfights in the Kashmir Valley in the past 24 hours, police said on Saturday. While two militants, including one from Pakistan, were killed in south Kashmir, the other two were killed in north and central Kashmir.

Police said the slain militants belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and The Resistance Front (TRF) — which, according to police, is a front for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

On Friday night, a joint team of police, Army and paramilitary forces cordoned off Chwakalan village of Pulwama in south Kashmir after specific inputs about the presence of militants in the village, police said. They said the militants were hiding in a local seminary.

“As the search party moved towards local Darul Uloom, terrorists hiding inside fired indiscriminately upon the search party, in which one civilian, identified as Zahoor Ahmad Shergojri, received gunshot injury,” police said in a statement. “The joint party retaliated to the fire leading to an encounter. Keeping the sanctity of the institution in mind, the operation was carried out with all due precautions and deliberations.”

Police identified the slain militants as Kamal Bhai from Pakistan and Aqib Mushtaq of Pulwama. Both of them were affiliated to Jaish-e-Mohammad, police said. They also said the Pakistani militant was active in the Valley for more than three years.

Hours after the gunfight started in Pulwama, two more gunfights ensued in central Kahsmir’s Ganderbal and north Kashmir’s Handwara. Police said a joint teams of forces cordoned off Serch village of Ganderbal and Rajwar area of Handwara after inputs about the presence of militants in these villages.

“In the ensuing encounters at Handwara and Ganderbal, one terrorist each, affiliated with proscribed terror outfit LeT were killed,” police said.

Police have identified the militant killed in Handwara and Ganderbal as Suhail Ahmad Ganie and Adil Khan respectively.

Police said they recovered two AK-56 rifles, an AK short barrel rifle, a pistol and a grenade from the militants killed in these three encounters.

Meanwhile, Kashmir IGP Vijay Kumar said on Saturday that panches and sarpanches were soft targets for militants as around 90 per cent of them did not have personal security officers, PTI reported. Kumar said police were taking steps to ensure their safety. His remarks came a day after a sarpanch was shot dead by militants in Adoura in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. This was the third killing of a local elected representative in the Union Territory this month.

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