Srinagar: A Pakistani commander was among three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir district of Pulwama on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar congratulated police and security forces for conducting successful operation without any collateral damage.
A police spokesperson said that following specific information about presence of militants, a joint Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) was launched by Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K Police, 55 Rashtriya Rifle (RR) and CRPF at New Colony hospital road area in Pulwama at around 0130 hrs on Wednesday.
‘During the search operation, the civilians were evacuated to safer places and as the presence of militants got ascertained, they were given an opportunity to surrender,’ he said.
However, he said the militants fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter. ‘Due to darkness, the operation was suspended, while the cordon remained intact,’ he said.
He said taking advantage of darkness, the militants tried to escape though they were effectively prevented from fleeing from the spot. ‘In the wee hours, repeated announcements were again made, appealing to the hiding militants to surrender. But the militants again fired on joint search party and the fire was retaliated leading to an encounter,’ he said.
He said three militants of proscribed outfit LeT were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. ‘The slain militants have been identified as LeT commander Aijaz alias Abu Huraira, a resident of Pakistan, Javeed Ahmad Rather, a resident of Tahab Pulwama and Shahnawaz Nazir Ganie, a resident of Samboora Awantipora,’ he said.
He said as per police records, all the killed militants were part of group involved in various crimes regarding which several cases have been registered against them. ‘The killed foreign militant had a history of militancy related cases. Aijaz was also instrumental in recruiting innocent youth into militant ranks besides, planning and executing several attacks in the area, including attacks on Police and security establishments,’ the spokesperson said.
He said arms and ammunition, including 2 AK rifles and a pistol, 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 militancy related activities,’ he added.
Authorities suspended mobile internet service of all Cellular companies, including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) as a precautionary measure to prevent rumours.
‘In this connection police have registered a case under relevant sections of law and investigation has been initiated. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitised and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any,’ the spokesperson added.