Two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including a commander of the outfit, were killed in a gunfight in Gopalpora area of Chadoora in Budgam district on Wednesday.
Senior superintendent of police Budgam, Amod Nagpure, said that acting on a specific lead about the presence of a group of militants in a residential house in Gopalpora, the police, army and Central Reserve Police Force Tuesday evening surrounded the village.
"As the suspected house was zeroed in on by the forces, the hiding militants opened fire leading to an encounter," the SSP told Greater Kashmir.
He said in the ensuing gunfight, two militants—Hilal Ahmed Wani son of Muhammad Akram Wani and Shoaib Muhammad Lone son of late Arshad Hussain, residents of Yaripora and Okai villages of Kulgam district, both affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen—were killed.
"Two weapons were recovered from the slain militants. The incriminating material seized from the militants suggested that they were tasked with carrying out a strike on the forces," the police officer said.
He said the operation was conducted in "a very smooth and clean manner".
"There was no collateral damage despite the fact the militants were hiding in a residential house. There was no law and order issue as well in the area," he said.
A police officer said that Hilal was active since 2015 while Shoaib had joined militancy last year only.
"At present, Hilal was one among the Hizb's longest surviving militants who was operating in southern districts and also in the parts of central Kashmir," he said.
A police statement said "the militants were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of crimes including attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities".
The statement reads: "Shoaib Lone alias Mursi was involved in several attacks and other civilian atrocities and several cases were registered against him. All the incriminating material has been taken in the case records for the purpose of investigation and probing their complicity in other cases".
The spokesman also urged the people not to venture inside the encounter zone, stating that such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials.
HIZB PAYS TRIBUTES
Hizbul Mujahideen paid rich tributes to Hilal Ahmad Wani of Yaripora and Shoaib Ahmed Lone alias Mursi of Okai, Kulgam.
Burhanuddin, Hizb operational spokesperson, told news agency CNS over phone that outfit chief Syed Salahuddin was pained at the killing of these two budding youths.
"Shoaib Ahmed Lone's father Arshid Ahmed was also part of Hizb who attained martyrdom for sake of Kashmir. We salute the bravery of these two young militants who sacrificed everything for Kashmir movement," Burhanuddin quoted Salahuddin as having said.
"Characters like Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq will suffer greatest humiliation and they won't succeed in their designs. The informers are always losers," he said, adding the "sun of freedom will rise sooner or later in Kashmir".