Operation conducted at night, no collateral damage; hideout was a trench in compound of a house
PAMPORE: Two Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants, including their commander in district Pulwama, were killed by government forces in an encounter at Shar Shali village in Khrew area of Pampore on Thursday, police said. Unlike the encounter in Budgam on Wednesday, when government forces set ablaze three houses during the operation in which Lashkar commander Naveed Jutt was killed, no house or property was damaged during this encounter.
A senior police officer told Kashmir Reader that a team of army’s 50 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir Police, and paramilitary CRPF, acting on a tip-off about presence of two local militants hiding in a residential house at Shar Shali village of Pampore, immediately launched a cordon and search operation in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday.
The two militants were hiding in a house in Shar Shali village and as the house was being cordoned, they opened indiscriminate fire at the team of government forces, the police officer said.
He said the fire was retaliated and two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were killed. One of the militants killed was a commander and close associate of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Riyaz Naikoo, the police officer said.
The slain militants were identified as Adnan Ahmad Lone alias Uqaab, son of Ghulam Mohammad Lone, resident of Braw Bandina, Awantipora; and Adil Bilal Bhat alias Umair Al Hizbi, son of Bilal Ahmad Bhat, resident of Malangpora, Pulwama. Adnan was the district commander for Pulwama of the Hizbul, the police officer said.
Two AK-47 rifles with 6 magazines, four Chinese grenades, and two ammunition pouches were recovered from the possession of the slain militants, the officer said.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Awantipora Mohammad Zahid said that the team of government forces was initially unable to trace the militants while conducting searches at Shar Shali village. When the troops came out of a house and began searching around the house, they were fired upon from behind logs of wood, he said.
“The forces personnel saw the fire coming from a nearby trench in the compound, where the militants were hiding,” the SP said.
He said that the militants then tried to enter the house, but only one of them succeeded in doing so. He said that the militant who took shelter in the house was neutralised soon after his associate was killed.
The SP said that the trench turned out to be a hideout from which arms and ammunition was recovered.
SP Awantipora called it a major success that two Hizb militants including a top commander were killed in the encounter.
Locals of Shar Shali told Kashmir Reader that they heard heavy gunfire at about 2.30am in the night. The gunfight ended at 4.30am in the pre-dawn hours, they said.
Reports said that during the overnight operation, government forces installed lighting in the area to ensure the militants do not escape taking advantage of darkness.
A police officer said Adnan was currently operating as one of the most important militant commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen. He joined the Hizbul in January 2015 while Adil joined in 2017.
“Adnan had a long history of crime, since 2015,” the officer added.
He said that Adnan was a close associate of Hizbul commander Reyaz Naikoo and had escaped from an encounter site in Srinagar earlier.
Adil, the police officer said, was also a close associate of Reyaz Naikoo and was involved in several crimes. He was involved in the killing of Head Constable Ashiq Hussain at Awantipora in October 2017. Head Constable Ashiq was killed when he was attending the marriage function of his relative at Padgampora area of Awantipora. Adil along with his associates barged into the house of Ashiq’s relative and shit Ashiq dead on the spot, the police officer told Kashmir Reader.
No collateral damage took place during the encounter, locals and police said.