ANANTNAG: Two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were killed in a gunfight with government forces, police said in Kulgam district of South Kashmir and in close vicinity to the NH-44 the route being used by Amarnath Yatris.
The slain militants have been identified as Yasir Wani, a resident of Wangund village in Kulgam district, and Rayees Manzoor, a resident of Chotipora village in South Kashmir’s Shopian district.
“An AK-47 and a pistol, along with some incriminating material, have been retrieved from the slain militants,” Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Vijay Kumar, has said, adding that the site of the gunfight was very close to NH-44, the Yatra route.
The annual Amarnath Yatra will commence tomorrow as around 5000 Yatris are camping in Nunwan of Pahalgam and the Panthachowk area of Srinagar. The Yatris had traveled to these places hours ahead of the gunfight.
The gunfight took place in the Nawpora village of Mirbazar, here in the Kulgam district. A senior police official from the area said that the forces had inputs regarding the movement of militants in the area, following which an operation was launched.
“The militants were surrounded in an open area and soon as they sensed trouble, they opened indiscriminate fire,” the official said, adding that the fire was retaliated and both the militants were killed.
Bodies of the militants, the official said, have been retrieved and will 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.
Meanwhile, with the killing of these two militants, the total number of militants killed this year has gone up to 122. “32 of the slain militants were Pakistani nationals and the rest of them were locals,” the police have maintained.