Pulwama: Five militants, including a Pakistani national, were killed Thursday in an eight-hour gunbattle with government forces in neighbouring Shopian district, police officials said.
The encounter broke out after army’s Rashtriya Rifles soldiers, police’s SOG and paramilitary CRPF cordoned Gadder forest area falling under Keller police station in the wee hours.
“At around 6 am, as the forces made advance into the interiors of the forest they came in contact with the militants,” the officials said. “The militants, in a bid to break the cordon resorted to heavy firing at the forces triggering a fierce encounter. Two militants were killed as soon as the encounter started while three others managed to flee and hid behind the bushes.”
“Later all the three militants were located, triggering a fresh gunfight. “After the heavy exchange of fire for several hours the encounter ended at around 3 pm with the killing of all the three militants,” the police said.
The slain militants were identified as Shakeel Ahmad Wani, son of Ghulam Mohammad Wani of Pakharpora, Parvez Ahmad Wagay, son of Ghulam Hassan of Batmuran, Tahir Ahmad, son of Abdul Gani of Aglar, Shabir Ahmad of Anantnag and Mohammad Toyab of Multan, Pakistan.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG), south Kashmir, Aluk Kumar said that two of the slain militants belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad and three to Hizbul Mujahideen.
“Mohammad Toyab was the district commander of JeM and was active in the area for a long time,” Kumar told Kashmir Reader.
Three AK-47 rifles, one SLR, one pistol and some ammunition was claimed recovered from the slain militants.
One of the slain militants, Shakeel Ahmad, was a government teacher before joining militant ranks. He had completed three PGs and had also done a course from Noida.
“Shakeel, a father of three, was a government teacher and had joined militant ranks in June last year. Earlier, he was associated with Hizbul Mujahideen and then he joined the Jaish.
“He was on the radar of security agencies after the militants attacked a police post in his native Pakharpora area and snatched weapons from the cops on last year,” reports said.
As soon as news about Shakeel’s death spread in his native area, dozens of youth took to streets and staged protests. The protestors attacked a police post guarding a local shrine and ransacked the post.
Reports of protests were also received from native villages of other slain militants.