66 militants been killed in this winter: IGP Kashmir
ANANTNAG Two local militants, one of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and another of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH), were killed in an early morning gunfight with government forces in Tral area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said. They have been identified as Umar Nabi Teli @Talha son of Ghulam Nabi Teli resident of Ladoo Khrew and Shafat Muzaffar Sofi @Muavia son of Muzaffar Ahmad Sofi resident of Batagund Tral. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, has said that the two of them were operating from Srinagar recently, before shifting to Tral. “They were involved in the killing of a Sarpanch in Khanmoh area of Srinagar recently. They were being tracked all along,” Kumar said. A senior police official from Awantipora police district said that an operation was launched, following inputs regarding the presence of militants in Arigam village of Tral. “The operation was launched early Wednesday morning and the militants were intercepted in a paddy field. They opened fire, as they were being surrounded, in a bid to escape,” the police official said. He said that the fire was retaliated and both the militants were killed in the exchange of fire. Bodies of the militants have been retrieved along with “arms and ammunition and some incriminating material”. The bodies have been sent to North Kashmir for burial at an undisclosed location. Authorities have refused to hand over bodies of slain militants to their families, since April 2020, when they cited Covid protocol as a reason. They have continued with the practice and the slain militants are being buried at undisclosed locations in North Kashmir, in presence of a few family members. Kumar, meanwhile, has told media men in Srinagar that militants have suffered heavy casualties in the winter season and are now targeting civilians out of frustration. “66 militants have been killed in winters. They (militants) are now picking soft targets, and that shows their frustration,” Kumar said. He was referring to the attacks on non-locals and a member of the minority Pandit community in recent days. Kumar said that patrolling was being carried out in many villages, during the night as well, and it will be intensified in the coming days. “Joint patrolling will be carried out to minimize the threat,” he said.