Hizb trying to re-establish base in north Kashmir: DIG Chowdry

Top army and police official on Saturday said Hizbul-Mujahideen militant outfit was desperately trying to re-establish its base in north Kashmir.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) north Kashmir, Sulaiman Chowdry said the “footfall of Hizb militants across north Kashmir was almost negligible and it is after four years that any Hizb militant has been killed here.” He was referring to killing of three Hizb militants at Yadipora Pattan in on Friday.

“It seems Hizb is desperately trying to re-establish its base in north Kashmir. These killings are an indication. However, all such designs will be foiled,” said the DIG, addressing a press conference here.

He identified two of the slain militants as Hanna Bilal Sofi of old town Baramulla and Shafkat Ali Khan of Rawatpora Delina while describing the third slain militant as “unidentified.”

Giving details of the operation in which the three militants were killed, the DIG said based on the specific information about presence of militants, a joint team of army’s 29 RR, CRPF and police cordoned the area during early morning on Friday.

He said as search party was approaching the house were militants were hiding, one of the militants opened fire, resulting in the injury to an army Major and two policemen.

“The security forces retaliated, killing two militants. Latter one more militant was killed,’ said the DIG.

Speaking during the presser, Commander 20 Sector RR, Brigadier N K Mishra said all the three militants were given opportunity to surrender, however, they refused.

“We provided enough opportunity to the militants to surrender but they refused and fired upon the search party, resulting in the injury to a Major and two cops,” he said. “The operation lasted for 12 hours and our main priority was to evacuate 12 residents who were holed up inside the house. We successfully evacuated them without any harm.”

The Commander said the group was active since long in the area and had been involved in some attacks on the security forces.

To a question about recruitment of locals in the militancy, the Commander said the recruitment of local youths in different militant outfits has come down drastically with the efforts of police as well as other security forces.

“Several youth have been brought back from the path of militancy and most of them are now happily living with their families,” he said.

“Around 38 youth joined militancy in 2018, while in 2019, the number went down to 19 and during the current year, the number of locals joining militancy is very less,” he said. Meanwhile, a police official in Baramulla said the bodies of all the three slain militants were buried at Sonmarg.