Srinagar: Two Hizb-ul-Mujahedin militants were on Wednesday killed in an encounter with the security forces outside the Kashmiri town of Sopore, officials said. One of the slain men was a district commander of Hizbul, they claimed.
The officials said that after receiving information about the presence of militant duo in a private house on Tuesday night the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s counter insurgency Special Operations Group (SOG), Army’s 22 Rashtriya Rifles and the CRPF’s 179, 177 and 92 Battalions and North Range QRT teams laid siege to Pazalpora area, about 55-km northwest of here.
“Acting on specific information about the presence of militants in Pazalpora, the police and security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in the area. During the operation, militants present in the area fired upon the joint search party,” a statement issued by the police here said.
“Although the holed up militants were asked to surrender through loudspeakers and other possible means, they refused and continuously fired upon the joint search party. The fire was returned resulting into the killing of two Hizb militants.” it added.
The slain militants were identified as Gulzar Ahmad Lone alias Ibrahim, who served as district commander of Hizb for Baramulla, and Basit Ahmed Mir alias Tahir. Both were local Kashmiri militants. Before joining militant ranks they lived in Gund Brath and Andergam Pattan areas of Baramulla, respectively.
Two AK 47 rifles with five magazines and 124 rounds of ammunition, one hand grenade and two pouches were found on them, the police said.
It claimed that the duo were involved in a number of subversive and militancy related incidents including murders and series of attacks on mobile phone towers in 2015. The cases for these stood registered in the jurisdiction of Sopore police division.
Witnesses said that the operation which had been suspended for the night was resumed on Wednesday and soon both the militants died in the security forces’ final assault on the house in which they were hiding.
“The security forces had strengthened the cordon and also used floodlights to maintain a close watch on the movement of militants and ensure they do not escape during the night,” an official said.
Meanwhile, the security forces on Wednesday called off a search operation launched earlier in Hajin area of neighbouring Bandipora district. The move was made after learning that a group of militants who had been holed up in a private house had escaped amid protests and clashes witnessed in the area.
Reports said that troops from the Army’s 13 Rashtriya Rifles with SOG and the CRPF laid siege to Hajin’s Naid Mohalla in the morning after receiving information about the presence of two to four militants in a house. But the moment they arrived in the area, surging crowds staged protests and hurled rocks at the security personnel, triggering clashes between the two sides.
The security forces fired teargas canisters to quell the protesters and stone-throwing mobs but, while the clashes were on, the militants managed to break the security dragnet and escape, the reports said.