Slain teenager was ‘hybrid militant’, house owner’s family to be booked under UAPA: Police
Anantnag: Three militants and a civilian, termed as a “hybrid militant” by police, were killed in a gunfight between government forces and militants here in Pulwama district, police said on Sunday.
The slain militants, police said, were all members of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), identified as Zahid Manzoor alias Uzair, a resident of Karimabad in Pulwama, Waheed Ahmad Reshi of Kakapora Pulwama, and Kafeel Bhai alias Chotu, a Pakistani national.
Kashmir Inspector General of Police, Vijay Kumar, said Zahid , was a most-wanted militant and the current chief of the JeM in the valley. “He was involved in a number of killings,” Kumar said, while terming the killings as a huge success for the forces.
He said that Zahid was an active militant in 2017, and his brother is in jail for being involved in an earlier attack.
The slain civilian has been identified as Inayat Ahmad Mir, 17, a resident of Naira Pulwama. Mir was the son of the owner of the house that the militants were holed up in.
Kumar said that Mir was a “hybrid militant” and was given many chances to come out and surrender. “He did not, and instead kept firing from inside the house,” Kumar said, adding that there were a lot of people like Mir who were involved in militancy-related activities and went around with militants but their names were not on the list of militants.
The IGP said that given the militants were killed in Mir’s house, the other family members will also be booked under UAPA.
The gunfight took place in Naira village of Pulwama, where the operation was launched at about 7:00 PM Saturday evening, following inputs regarding the presence of militants in the area.
“The house where militants were holed up was zeroed in on and contact was established with the hiding militants. They were asked to lay down their arms but they did not relent and opened indiscriminate fire,” a police official from the area said.
He said that the fire was retaliated after civilians were evacuated from the area and in the ensuing gunfight all the “four militants” were neutralised. “An M4 rifle, 2 AK 47 rifles, and 2 pistols were retrieved from the site of the gunfight, along with some incriminating material,” the official said.
Bodies of the militants have been retrieved and have been sent to north Kashmir for a quiet burial at an undisclosed location, the official said. Authorities in Kashmir have refused to hand over bodies of slain militants to their families since April 2020, citing Covid protocol as a reason.
The authorities snapped mobile internet services in Pulwama district soon after the first shots were fired in Naira. The services were yet to be restored while this report was being filed.