Anantnag: Two militants affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in a gunfight with government forces on Monday afternoon in Kulgam district of south Kashmir, the police said
The gunfight comes days ahead of the annual Amarnath Yatra, slated to commence on June 30 after three years. The slain militants were identified as Zubair Ahmad Mir resident of Qaimoh Kulgam and Idrees Ahmad Dar resident of Kulpora Kulgam. The duo, according to police spokesperson, was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba.
Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar termed the operation “an important encounter site is very close to NHW (Yatra route) and LeT (TRF) has been issuing threats to Yatra”.
The gunfight took place in Nowpora-Kherpora, Trubji area in Kulgam district. A senior police official said that there were prior inputs regarding presence of militants in the area, following which an operation was launched.
“Contact was established with the hiding militants and they were asked to lay their arms down,” the official said, “They however opened indiscriminate fire, which was retaliated and both the militants were killed in the ensuing gunfight.”
The official said that the bodies of the militants were retrieved, along with arms, ammunition and some incriminating material. “The bodies will be sent for a burial to North Kashmir, following 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.
Meanwhile, with the killing of these two militants, the total number of militants killed this year has gone up to 120. “32 of the slain militants were Pakistani nationals and the rest of them were locals,” the police have maintained.
Today’s gunfight was the first after a lull since June 21.
11 militants were killed in a matter of just three days, in five gunfights between June 19 and June 21.