Anantnag: Two Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants were killed in a gunfight with government forces early Friday morning here in Khrew area of Pulwama district.
The slain militants have been identified as Musaib Mushtaq Bhat, a resident of Khrew, and Muzammil Ahmad Rather, a resident of Chakoora Pulwama.
Bhat, local sources told Kashmir Reader, was a lab technician and worked for the government before joining militant ranks.
“He had joined militant ranks some 8 months back,” a local source told Kashmir Reader.
The police have maintained that Bhat was involved in a series of “terror” crimes, including the killing of a peon in Lurgam area of Tral.
“Rather had joined the ranks recently,” the police spokesperson said. “The two of them were part of a hit-squad formed by Hizb and responsible for the killing of civilians in south Kashmir.”
Police have said that there were specific inputs regarding the presence of militants in the area, following which a cordon and search operation was launched at about 1:00 AM Thursday night.
“The militants were asked to surrender but they opened indiscriminate fire, which was retaliated, triggering a gunfight,” a senior police official from the area said, adding that at about 6:30 in the morning one of the militants tried to escape the house and was killed in the process.
Another militant, the official said, kept firing from within the house and was killed later in the morning,” the official said. “The operation was declared over by 11:00 am.”
Bodies of the militants were retrieved along with arms and ammunition (an AK-47 rifle and a pistol) and some “incriminating” material. Following the identification of the militants and a medico-legal process, the bodies have been sent to north Kashmir for burial.
Government forces in Kashmir have refused to hand over bodies of slain local militants to their families and have been burying them at undisclosed locations, in presence of a few family members only.