Hizb militant, soldier killed in Doda encounter

A Hizbul Mujahideen militant and an Army soldier were killed in a gunfight in a village in Doda district on Sunday, officials said.

The encounter started when security forces launched a joint operation in Posta-Potra village in Gundana area, 26 kms from Doda town, following information about presence of some militants, the officials said.

An Army soldier was critically injured in the initial firing from the holed up militants and later succumbed to injuries while being evacuated to hospital, they said.

Inspector General of Police, Jammu zone, Mukesh Singh said one of the hiding militants was killed in the ongoing operation.

“The operation is on and further details are awaited,” Singh said. The officials said joint teams of Army’s Rashtriya Rifles, police and CRPF were launched on Saturday night after inputs were received about presence of two suspected militants in the village. As the search parties were moving towards the target area, they came under heavy fire around 7.30 am which was retaliated, the officials said, adding the militants took shelter in a house after a brief encounter in the open.

Pic: Tahir Nadeem/GK

This is the second encounter between security forces and militants in Doda district this year. Earlier, Hizbul Mujahideen commander Haroon Abbas was killed in the same area by security forces on January 15.

Earlier this month, two Hizbul Mujahideen militants were arrested along with some arms and ammunition in the district.

Doda along with nearby Kishtwar district has witnessed increased militant activity lately. These Chenab valley districts were declared militancy-free two decades ago.

GKNN adds from Srinagar:

In the evening, police in a statement identified the killed militant as HM commander Tahir Ahmed Bhat of Pulwama.

“Tahir Ahmed Bhat joined HM early last year (2019). His name has figured in the fabrication of IED which was exploded near a CRPF convoy at Banihal in March 2019. He had subsequently visited Chenab Valley and was given the task of recruiting youth and reviving HM activities in the Chenab valley. He was also a part of group of HM militants who killed RSS activist Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO in April 2019. The same AK 47 Rifle which was taken away that time has been recovered after the encounter today. With this operation, an attempt of HM to revive activities in Doda has been nipped. The designs of the HM to target SF Convoy and Camps has also be thwarted. Tahir Bhat was a close associate of present Operational Commander of HM outfit Saifullah @ Dr Saif and was assigned the task of revival of militancy in Chenab Valley by recruiting more youth from there, as the Chenab valley had got rid of militancy in late 1990s,” the police statement said.