7 militants killed in 3 gunfights in span of 12 hours
Anantnag: The gunfight that broke out in Lolab area of Kupwara district Sunday afternoon, soon after a militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba was apprehended by the police, ended on Monday with the killing of two more militants, including the arrested militant who led government forced to the hideout.
“On the basis of his (arrested militant’s) disclosure regarding a hideout, an operation was launched in the area,” Inspector-General of Police Vijay Kumar said. He said that the area was being cordoned off when the hiding militants opened indiscriminate fire. “The fire was retaliated and in the process the arrested militant also got trapped,” Kumar said.
A local police official told Kashmir Reader that two of the militants, including one Pakistani national, were killed briefly after the gunfight commenced. “The other two were killed later during the night, as the exchange of fire had continued,” the official said.
Minutes after the Kupwara gunfight had commenced, another operation was launched in DH Pora area of Kulgam district, resulting in the killing of two militants.
The slain militants were later identified as Harris Sharief, a resident of Pantha Chowk area on the outskirts of Srinagar city, and Zakir Padder, a resident of Kulgam district.
“Harris was affiliated with the LeT, while Padder was a C-category militant affiliated with the Jaish-e-Muhammad,” Kumar had told the media soon after the gunfight concluded Sunday evening.
The third operation was launched late Sunday night in Chatpora area of Pulwama district in south Kashmir region. “We had inputs about the presence of militants, and at about midnight an operation was launched in the area,” a senior police official from the area said.
He said that the militant was holed up in an under-construction house and was asked to lay down his arms soon after contact was established with him. “He, however, refused and opened indiscriminate fire. The fire was retaliated and the militant was killed in a brief time,” the official said.
He said that the body of the slain was retrieved, along with arms and ammunition. “After an identification is carried out and medico-legal formalities are completed, the body will be sent to an undisclosed location for burial,” the official said.
Seven militants, thus, at least five of them members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, have been killed in less than twelve hours in three gunfights in different parts of Kashmir valley. Only three of the slain militants have been identified by police, so far.
Police have said that bodies, along with arms, ammunition, and incriminating material have been retrieved. “An identification process is being carried out. The details will be given out shortly,” the official said.
Bodies of the other slain militants will also be sent to an undisclosed location for burial.
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.
Kumar, meanwhile, has said that 114 militants have been killed in 2022 thus far, across Kashmir valley. “32 of the slain were foreign nationals, while the rest of them were locals,” he said.
Most of these killings have taken place in the months of May and June. On the other hand, there have also been targeted killings of Kashmiri Pandits, non-locals, policemen, and politically affiliated locals. Over 24 people have been killed in such targeted killings this year so far.