Greater Kashmir

Tral, May 17: Six militants of the militant outfit, Jaish-e-Muhammad, including a district commander were killed in an encounter with troops in this south Kashmir’s area on Saturday.

            The encounter, which started in the morning ended in the afternoon with the killing of all the six militants including two locals. Police said that a group of militants in Luraw Jageer (Largham) on seeing a patrolling party of CRPF personnel tried to escape. Reinforcements from 42 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and SOG Tral were called out immediately and the militants intercepted after the area was cordoned off.

            “In the ensuing gunbattle six militants were killed,” police said.

            Later addressing a press conference here, Inspector General of Police, S M Sahai termed the killing of the militants as “a big setback” to the outfit.

            “This is one of the most successful operations in the Valley in the recent past with the troops suffering no damage. This is a major blow to Jaish as all the top commanders of the outfit have been killed,” he said.

            Sahai said the security forces had been trailing the militants who were active in the area. “On learning about their presence a joint operation was launched and contact establish to track them down,” he said.

            He identified the two slain local militants as Waseem Hussain Ahanger alias Qari Asif of Kuchmulla, Tral—district commander of the outfit and Muhammad Yousuf Bhat alias Prince of Chersu, Awantipura.

            Without disclosing the identity of other militants, Sahai said the other four militants were foreigners. He said that one of the slain militants, Waseem, was involved in the serial killings of police and CRPF personnel in Srinagar in 2006.

            “He was one among the three involved in these killings. The other two have already been arrested and are lodged in central jail,” he said.

            Responding to a query about the number of militants present in south Kashmir, he said, “They keep infiltrating through the Pir Panjal mountains but their number in south Kashmir had decreased considerably in the past six months.”

            He said that there were a couple of groups active in Shopian and one or two in Tral. “But they are very few in number,” he added.

            Sources said four militants managed their escape from the area even as one of them was reportedly injured in the shootout.

            Sahai said one LeT militant was also killed in an encounter with police and Army in Kuta Bela, Bandipore in North Kashmir Saturday.

            The slain militant was identified as Tanveer Ahmad, district commander of LeT.