Two Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants killed in J&K’s Kulgam encounter

The armed forces have killed two militants of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen on Friday in an overnight encounter in Kulgam area of South Kashmir.

The encounter took place in Chansar village in Chawalgam area of Kulgam where armed forces launched a crackdown on Thursday afternoon, after receiving information regarding the presence of militants in the area. The armed forces claimed that the militants opened fire at the search party, triggering an encounter.

One of the two killed militants was identified as Sheeraz Ahmad Lone, who was active since September 2016 and was the district commander of the organisation in Kulgam. The army officials claimed that he was involved in the recruitment of several youths in the area, who carried out several attacks.

“He was responsible for misleading… radicalising youth and used them to carry out terrorist attacks while he himself ensured self-survival. In the past five years, he had recruited many youths as terrorists, the majority of whom have been neutralised by the security forces,” Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Col Emran Musavi has informed.

The other militant killed in the encounter was Yawar Ahmad Bhat, who had joined the militant ranks in March this year. The army said the killings had led to the breaking of an important link between the militants with weapons and their network on the ground. The forces claimed to have recovered an AK rifle, a pistol and other ‘war-like stores’.

In a separate encounter in Srinagar on Thursday night, a militant, Aamir Riyaz, of Khrew area of Pampore, was killed. The police claimed that he was affiliated with the Mujahideen Gazwat ul Hind outfit and was assigned to carry out a Fidayeen attack. Inspector General of police in the Kashmir Vijay Kumar said Aamir is a relative of one of the accused of the Lethpora attack that took place in February 2019, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

The officials informed that around 150 militants were killed in J&K so far this year and hundreds of alleged overground workers of militants have been detained, summoned and questioned. In October, after a spate of civilian killings, 19 militants were killed in over 14 encounters.

Earlier this week, Lieutenant Governor of J&K, Manoj Sinha chaired a security review meeting directing the armed forces and security agencies to ensure that there is no civilian killing in the region.

Meanwhile, the army officials in Jammu informed that the operation going on in the Rajouri-Poonch range since October 11 is almost over. “It is almost over. Nothing could be found,” a Jammu-based defence spokesperson informed ET. The operation against the infiltrators in Surankote and Mendhar forest in Poonch district and Thanamandi in Rajouri district has been going on since October 11,and, until now, nine army personnel, including two Junior Commissioned Officers, have been killed in two separate encounters on October 11 and October 14.

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