STATE TIMES NEWS
Srinagar: Seven terrorists, including terror outfit Ansar Ghazwatul Hind’s chief Imtiaz Ahmad Shah, were gunned down by security forces in two encounters in Shopian and Pulwama districts, police said on Friday.
“Five terrorists have been killed in a Shopian operation, while two others were killed in the encounter at Nowbugh in Tral area of Pulwama district,” a police official said.
Earlier, the Kashmir Zone Police had said that efforts were being made to get two terrorists hiding inside a mosque in Shopian after an overnight encounter to surrender.
“Brother of holed up terrorist and local Imam Sahab sent inside mosque to persuade the terrorists to come out and surrender. Efforts are on to save the mosque,” police had said in a tweet.
They had also tweeted about the Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGuH) chief being trapped inside the mosque. “Chief of proscribed terrorist outfit AGuH (JeM) trapped,” police had said.
Army Jawan martyred by terrorists in Anantnag
Srinagar: Terrorists martyred an Army jawan, who had come home on leave, in Anantnag district on Friday, police said.
The ultras shot at and injured Havaldar Salim outside his residence at Goriwan in Bijbehara area of the district, a police official said. Salim was rushed to the hospital but he succumbed to his injuries, the official said.
The encounter in Shopian town broke out on Thursday evening and giving an update about the operation on the same day, police had said that three terrorists have been killed and four security forces personnel injured.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar told reporters that AGuH chief Imtiaz Shah, who was active since 2019, was actually killed in the gunbattle at Tral in Pulwama district.
“While laying a cordon in Shopian, two terrorists managed to escape after hurling a grenade,” Kumar said.
He said acting on inputs that the terrorists had moved towards orchards in the Tral area, another operation was launched in Nowbug and the two ultras were killed. One of the slain terrorists was identified as Imtiaz Shah, Kumar said.
The officer said three people, who hurled stones on security forces when they were laying the cordon, suffered pellet injuries.
The Army’s 15 Corps’ Commander, Lt Gen D P Pandey, said the security forces had conducted the Shopian operation with utmost restraint and respect for the place of worship where the two terrorists were hiding. “It was ensured that there was no disrespect to the place of worship (the mosque),” he said.
Lt Gen Pandey said security forces gave ample opportunity to the terrorists to surrender.
“We want the misguided youth to comeback,” he said, but warned that anyone who takes to arms against the state will be neutralised.
On the orders asking the media not to cover live encounters and law and order situations, IGP Kumar said he had written to all senior superintendents of police, keeping in mind the safety of journalists and to ensure media coverage does not hamper operations. “I have directed the district SSPs concerned to brief the media after the operations are over,” he added.
A police handout said, “Even troops didn’t enter into the mosque. Security forces kept launching tear smoke shells inside mosque. In view of this scenario, the operation was suspended for night hours, but the cordon remained intact in and around the encounter site. All possible efforts were made to persuade the holed up terrorists to surrender as besides repeated surrender appeals, parents of one of terrorist were requested to persuade but both terrorists didn’t surrender. But the holed up terrorists refused and sent them back”.
“Again today in the wee hours, parents of holed up terrorist were sent inside the mosque to yet again persuade them to come out and surrender, but they again refused and sent them back and instead started firing indiscriminately on the joint team. The joint team keeping in view the sanctity of mosque used smoke shells and fired tactfully without damaging the mosque, as a result of which they were successful in eliminating two more terrorists taking the toll to five”, it added.
The operation was monitored and supervised by IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar and GOC Victor Force Maj General Rashim Bali who remained present on spot.
The bodies of the all the five categorized killed terrorists were retrieved from the site of encounter. Among the five killed terrorists, four have been identified as Muzamil Manzoor, Adil Ahmad Lone, Basik Ismaiel Bakshi, all residents of Shopian and Younis Ahmad Khanday resident of Tral. The identification of the fifth killed terrorist is being ascertained, the handout added.
The second terrorist killed along with AGuH commander Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah has been identified as Zahid Ahmed Koka resident of Malhoora Shopian.
As per police records, killed AGuH commander Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah was active since 19/04/2019 and was an A+ categorized terrorist. He was involved in several terror crime cases including civilian killings, attacks on security forces and civilian atrocities besides, he was also involved in motivating youth to join terrorist ranks. The terrorist handlers had assigned him the task to attack army/yatra convoy en-route Tral area. Similarly the other killed terrorists were also involved in several terror crime cases including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities.
Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from both the encounter sites. The group of killed terrorists was operating jointly and was affiliated with proscribed terror outfits HM, AGuH and LeT.
All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other terror crimes. In this connection police have registered cases under relevant sections of law and investigation has been initiated.
Corps Commander Lt General D. P. Pandey, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar and GOC Victor Force Maj General Rashim Bali congratulated the joint teams for conducting the operations successfully, especially the joint team of Shopian who exhibited professionalism and patience while fighting with terrorists who had taken refuge inside a mosque and maintained the sanctity of the mosque.