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Five terrorists killed in separate encounters in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 30 (PTI) In a major success for the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, a top self-styled commander of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit was among five terrorists killed in two separate overnight encounters in Pulwama and Budgam districts of the valley, officials said on Sunday.

The JeM chief Zahid Wani was active since 2017 and was involved in several killings and recruitment of youth into terrorist ranks.

Speaking to reporters at a joint press conference in Pulwama, IGP Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, and GoC of the army’s Victor Force, Major General Prashant Srivastava, said the gunfights, which broke out on Saturday, took place in Pulwama and Budgam districts of the Kashmir valley after the security forces received specific inputs about the presence of terrorists.

While four JeM terrorists were killed in the encounter in Naira area of Pulwama, in south Kashmir, one ultra of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was killed in Chrar-i-Sharief area of the central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

“Zahid Wani was a top commander of the Jaish. His brother was involved in the Ban Plaza attack (in Jammu) and is in jail. Wani was active since 2017, involved in several killings, recruitment. After the killing of Sameer Dar, he became the district commander of JeM. In fact, he was the Jaish chief of the whole valley. It was a good operation and I want to congratulate the security forces,” Kumar told reporters.

The IGP said so far this month, there have been 11 encounters in which 21 terrorists, including eight Pakistanis, have been killed.

Complimenting the entire team of the security forces for carrying out the operation under the most challenging circumstances, the GoC Victor Force said the Pulwama operation was not an isolated operation, but a part of the series of human intelligence-based operations that have been undertaken in the jurisdiction of the Army’s 15 Corps in the past few months.

He said Wani was one of the masterminds of various IED attacks which have taken place since 2017.

“With this success, we have taken a very important step in neutralising the threat of JeM in this area. With the neutralising of Wani, we have eliminated one of the masterminds of various IED attacks that have taken place over the years since 2017,” Maj Gen Srivastava said.

Wani was also involved in the “extensive recruitment” of young boys into militancy, he said.

“He (Wani) misled them to their untimely death and caused a lot of anguish to the families and the people who are residing in this area. His elimination will provide a lot of relief to the residents of the district and indeed in the entire J-K,” the GoC Victor Force said.

The IGP said the owner of the house at Naira Pulwama where the encounter took place, will be booked under UAPA.   “This (house owner’s son) is a best example of a hybrid terrorist. There are many persons who are not listed as terrorists but join them. Inayat (Ahmed) was asked to surrender but he along with militants kept on firing at the security forces and got killed,” Kumar said.

He said the focus of the security forces was on neutralising the Pakistani and hybrid terrorists.

“In the last two months, one or two FTs (foreign terrorists) have been killed in each encounter. It is a good thing for us. The FTs come down from the higher reaches in the winter to the villages. The villagers inform us, we launch operations and that FT is killed.

“It is a fact that the number of FTs and locals is equal this time. We will neutralise them. We will focus totally as the Pakistani terrorist and the hybrid terrorist is a challenge for us, we are focussing on both and will keep on neutralising them,” he said. The valley’s top cop said it was for the first time that the number of terrorists has come down below 200. “We tried our best to get it below 100 this year”, he added.

Kumar said the terrorists were getting arms and ammunition via various ways.

“You have seen in Jammu region, there were 35 attempts in which drones were seized. Many arms came via drones, they come by road as well, sometimes through infiltration. So, there a lot of ways. But, we are making our network stronger by human intelligence and technical intelligence and we will seize and neutralise the threat,” he said.

Asked about videos by terrorists brandishing various assault rifles, Kumar said every year in January-February, “the terrorists release such propaganda videos to increase the recruitment”.

“They show some weapons which are not present here. But still, if such a weapon comes here, then our security forces are capable enough to neutralise that threat. There is no need to worry,” he said. PTI SSB DV DV

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.


Source: The Print

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