‘3 army men, civilian injured’
Anantnag: A commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) was killed in an overnight gunfight with government forces in Anantnag district of South Kashmir.
Three army personnel and a civilian were also injured in the initial exchange of fire at the site of the gunfight late Friday evening.
“The injured were evacuated to the 92-Base hospital of the army in Srinagar. They are all stable,” Kashmir Inspector General of Police (IGP), Vijay Kumar, said.
The slain commander of Hizb has been identified as Nisar Ahmad Khanday, a resident of the Dooru area in the Anantnag district. Khanday, as per sources, had joined the militant outfit in October 2018 and has remained active in South Kashmir since.
“He was one of the most wanted militants in the area,” a police source told Kashmir Reader.
The gunfight took place in Gawas, Reshipora area of Verinag here in Anantnag district. A senior police official said that a cordon and search operation was launched in the area following inputs regarding the presence of militants.
“Contact was soon established with the militants and he was asked to lay down his arms, but he opened indiscriminate fire instead, which was retaliated triggering a gunfight,” the police official said.
He said that four people were injured in the initial exchange of fire, including three army men and a civilian. “The injured were evacuated and the gunfight continued. Subsequently, the hiding militant was gunned down,” the police official said.
He said that an Ak-47, some ammunition, and incriminating material were retrieved from the slain. “His body will be sent to north Kashmir for a burial, after completion of medico-legal formalities,” the official said.
The authorities have refused to hand over bodies of slain militants to their families, citing Covid protocol, since April 2020. The practice of burying militants at undisclosed locations in presence of a few family members has continued ever since. This has prevented people from holding massive funeral prayers for slain militants, wherein tens of thousands of people would normally participate.
This was the first gunfight in the current month, even as the last week or so of May has been seriously violent.
More than 16 militants and a policeman have been killed in around 6 gunfights between May 25 and May 31.
There has been a serious uptick in violence in the last more than a week now, with unidentified gunmen targeting minorities, including Kashmiri Pandits, on leave police men, and workers from outside.
A TV actress was also killed recently in Budgam district of central Kashmir, by unidentified gunmen, while her 10-year-old nephew was injured. Rattled, the Kashmiri Pandits working under Prime Minister’s package in the Kashmir valley have been fleeing to safety in Jammu.
A high-level security meet, chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah, was held in the national capital on Friday. The security scenario was discussed at length.