In 2 months, 11 militants, army officer, cop killed in south Kashmir

SHABIR AHMAD

ANANTNAG: Eleven militants, an army officer and a policeman were killed and three soldiers injured in different gunfights in south Kashmir during last two months. Seven of the militants were killed in Shopian district while four others were slain in Tral, Pulwama.
A police official giving details of the encounters that took place in the region during last two months said that five militants were killed in Kellar forests of Pulwama on February 15 in a 17-hour gunfight. One of the slain militants was a Pakistani national and four were locals.
Ten days later on February 25, two local militants were killed in Handura village of Tral in a brief gun fight. During the clash one army officer of the rank of commanding officer and a cop were also killed. On February 26, two local militants were killed in Hef Shirmal village of Shopian in a 27-hour gun battle with government forces. Three army men also suffered injuries in the gunfight. Two days later two militants were killed in a brief encounter in Rathsuna village of Tral, considered to be the hot bed of militancy.
Out of the 11 slain militants, seven belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen, three to Lashkar-e-Toiba and one to Jaish-e-Mohammad. “About 40 militants are still active in the region,” the police official said.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG), south Kashmir, Ali Mohammad said that police and other agencies are keeping a close vigil on the activities of militants.
“Some militant outfits are trying to revive militancy in certain pockets of the region but we are keeping a close watch on their activities to foil their plans,” DIG said. He, however, said he was concerned about educated youth joining militant ranks and said that steps need to be taken to stop the trend. “Educated youth joining militancy is and should be a concern not only for police but also for other security agencies and government. Police is going to organize various programs including professional courses and sports activities for the youth to keep them engaged,” he said.
“Keeping the youth engaged and involving them in different activities will surely help in changing their mindset,” said the DIG.

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