Shopian: Two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants including a top commander of the outfit were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Chek-e-Sidique Khan village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Monday.
The slain militants were identified as Ishfaq Ahmad Dar son of Abdul Rashid Dar of Heff Shirmal, Shopian, and Majid Iqbal Bhat son of Mohamamd Iqbal Bhat of Malibugh Imamsahab, Shopian.
Dar, according to a police official, had joint LeT in 2017 after deserting police force.
Giving details, another police official told Greater Kashmir that a joint team of army’s 34 RR, CRPF and police ring fenced Chek-e-Sidique Khan village, seven kms from Shopian town, and launched a search operation on Sunday evening.
The operation, according to the official, was launched after the forces were tipped off about the presence of militants in the area.
As the forces zeroed in on a suspected spot, the holed up militants opened fire on the forces, the official said.
He said that the forces immediately returned the fire which led to the encounter.
According to the official, the forces, however, immediately paused the operation and offered the militants to surrender. “The militants were completely intransigent and continued firing towards the forces,” the official said.
He said that in the retaliatory action two LeT militants were killed. According to the official, the operation lasted for around 10 hours. A police spokesperson in a statement said that Dar was a “top Lashkar commander” and figured among the list of most wanted militants.
“He was very instrumental in planning and executing attacks on security establishment, civilian killings and misleading the gullible youth by motivating them to join militancy,” the spokesperson said, adding that two youth namely Asif Lone of Khudwani and Abdul Rashid Thokar of Hussanpora Arwani had joined militancy at his behest.
According to the spokesperson, Dar was also involved in the killing of four police personnel at minority guard in Zainpora on 11/12/2018, and two non-local drivers in Chitragam Shopian on 24/10/2019. “Incriminating material, arms and ammunitions including two AK-47 rifles and 8 magazines were recovered from the encounter site,” the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, IGP Kashmir has congratulated the joint team of police and security forces for conducting successful operation in professional manner without any collateral damage.
People have been requested to cooperate with police till “the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any”.