Two more houses, cowshed destroyed
Shopian: Day after killing of five militants, four more militants were killed at another village of south Kashmir’s Shopian on Monday. With their killings, the total number of militants killed in last 24 hours in the district rose to nine.
A cordon and search operation was launched by government forces at Mir Mohalla of Pinjora village around 12 am on Monday.
Deputy Inspector General of police south Kashmir, Atul Kumar Goyal told reporters that the operation was launched on specific inputs about presence of militants. “As cordon was being laid, hiding militants fired which was retaliated and resulted in killing of four militants,” he said.
Locals from Pinjora said that gunshots rang out in the area around 3am, panicking the residents.
They said that two residential houses and a cowshed was destroyed in the firefight and a cow belonging to one of the house owners was also charred to death. Many apple trees were also burnt in fire which engulfed the houses.
The DIG said that the identification of militants is being ascertained by the police. “This is a big success for security forces,” he said
A police statement said that identification and affiliation of the killed militants is being ascertained.
However as per credible sources the killed militants belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen, it said.
Meanwhile, the slain militants have been locally identified as Umar Dhobi of Pinjora who was active since two years, his two associates, one from Reban village identified as Saqlain Ahmad and another from Kapran identified as Wakeel Ahmad Naikoo and the fourth slain militant was a resident of Vehil, identified as Rayees Ahmad Khan, who was active since more than a year. All the slain militants hailed from Shopian.
Pinjora is situated some 2.5 kilometre away from district headquarters. The site where encounter took place is situated in isolation, some 150 meters away from Mir Mohala.
General officer Commanding (GoC) 15 Corps Lt Gen B S Raju said the operation was conducted in a “smooth manner” with no collateral damage to civilian property.
Addressing a hurriedly convened press conference at the Victor Force headquarters at Awantipora, 33 km from here, Gen Raju said the operation was conducted smoothly because of the professionalism of all the agencies involved.
“The intelligence given by Jammu and Kashmir Police, solid crowd control done by the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) and the appropriate tactics that were used by the forces on ground ensured that it was done in the most professional manner,” he said.
Gen Raju said he was aware of the difficult circumstances under which the operation was conducted, which involved evacuating considerable number of civilians from the vicinity.
“I would credit the local population, which kind of facilitated the conduct of the operation in such a smooth manner.”
Gen Raju, replying to a question about the number of militants in south Kashmir, said that around 100 local militants and 25 foreign militants were operational.
“We can give a rough figure of approximately 100 odd local terrorists we are looking at and may be another 20-25 foreign terrorists is the number we are broadly looking at,” he said.
The senior Army officer, who was flanked by Victor Force Major General A Sengupta and Inspector General of CRPF Rajesh Kumar, said Pakistan is “unhappy” with peace in the Kashmir Valley as it wants to keep the pot boiling by pushing armed militants and peddling misinformation.
“…as I said earlier that Pakistan is unhappy because it is in its larger plan to keep the pot boiling in the valley. That is how the relevance of the Pakistan army remains within Pakistan.
“As far as Pakistan’s contribution to violence here, it is a combination of two things — inducting weapons and pushing terrorists…and the second is the information warfare Pakistan intends to fight. I will again make an appeal that don’t consume Pakistani media, it is peddling misinformation and that is something I would like to say even at the cost of repetition,” he said.
Giving details, Maj Gen Sengupta said the security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Pinjora area of the district in South Kashmir this morning after receiving information about the presence of militants there.
With inputs from PTI