SRINAGAR – Two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were on Friday killed and as many CRPF personnel were injured in an encounter which ensued after security forces launched a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) in Srinagar.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar said that as many as 78 militants, including 39 from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), have been killed in different encounters with security forces during the last over seven months in the valley.
A police spokesperson said that following specific information about presence of militants, a joint CASO was launched by Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police, CRPF and Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in the wee hours on Friday at Alamdar Colony Danmar in Srinagar.
He said security forces, after sealing all exit points, were moving towards a particular area when militants, hiding there, opened indiscriminate firing with automatic weapons. The security forces retaliated ensuing in an encounter. Additional security forces were deployed in the adjoining areas to prevent any law and order problem.
Sources said that two unidentified militants were killed while as many CRPF jawans were injured in the exchange of fire. “The injured were rushed to Army’s 92 base hospital, where their health condition is stated to be stable,” they added.
They said the slain militants have been identified as Bilal Ahmad and Irfan Ahmad Sofi, both residents of Natipora. Meanwhile, as the news of the death of militants spread in the city, people, mostly youth, hit the streets at Natipora chowk and clashed with security forces. Instantaneous shutdown was also observed even as shopkeepers’ downed shutter and traffic went off the roads in Natipora, Budshah Nagar, Aazad Basti, Nowgam and adjoining area in uptown Srinagar.
Mr Kumar said that with today’s operation, police along with security forces have killed 78 militants in valley this year so far. “In these encounters, most of the militants were affiliated with proscribed LeT. Out of 78, 39 were from LeT followed by Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), Al-Badr, Jash-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AuGH),” he added.
A police spokesperson said both the militants were active since December 2020. “Recently self claimed militant outfit TRF, an offshoot of LeT, shared on social media that Irfan and Bilal had left the outfit and joined ISJK,” he said.
He said that both the killed militants were part of groups involved in several militant related activities, including attacks on Police, security forces and civilian atrocities. “The duo executed a series of attacks on policemen, SFs and civilians which include killing of Personal Security Officer (PSO) of a PDP leader at Natipora on December 14, 2020, attack on a Road Opening Party (ROP) of CRPF 73BN in Lawaypora resulting in killing of two CRPF Jawans on March 25, 2021,” he said.
Moreover, he said on July 17, 2021 the duo attacked and killed an on-leave police official Constable Javid Ahmad near his residence at Saidpora and on July 22, 2021 attacked and killed Inspector Parvez Ahmad at Menganwari in Nowgam. “They were also involved in killing of a civilian Umer Nazir Bhat at his shop in Main Chowk Habba Kadal on July 23,” he added.
He said they were also involved in a series of grenade attacks as well as petrol bomb attacks on Police and security forces in the City. “On May 7, 2021, they carried out a grenade attack on joint party of Police and CRPF at Nawabazar area of Srinagar in which five CRPF jawans and a civilian were injured. On July 26, they carried out another grenade attack on joint party of Police and CRPF at Barbarshah in which one civilian was killed and three others were critically injured. They also carried out a grenade attack on PP Urdu Bazar on March 5, and petrol bomb attack on bunker of SSB at Mehjoor Nagar Band on April 26,” he added.
The spokesperson said that both the militants have been instrumental in motivating and recruiting the youth to join militant ranks in Srinagar and its adjoining areas. Incriminating materials, arms and ammunition, including one AK-47 rifle, one pistol and four grenades were recovered from the site of encounter. All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other terror crimes.
He said in this connection, police have registered a case under relevant sections of law and initiated investigation, adding people are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared off of all the explosive materials, if any.