Srinagar: Three militants of Lashker-e-Toiba including a top commander of militant outfit were killed in an encounter in Pulwama district of southern Kashmir, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar said.
The encounter took place in Pahoo village of Pulwama Sunday afternoon after police and Army cordoned off the area to flush out militants. The killed LeT commander was identified by police as Arif Hazar @ Rehan.
“#Encounter has started at #Pahoo area of #Pulwama. Police and security forces are on the job. Further details shall follow.@JmuKmrPolice,” Kashmir Zone Police, said in a tweet soon after the encounter broke out in the area.
“#PulwamaEncounterUpdate: 02 #terrorists killed. #Operation in progress. Further details shall follow.@JmuKmrPolice,” police said in another tweet.
“#PulwamaEncounterUpdate: 01 more #terrorist killed (Total 03), affiliated with #proscribed #terror outfit LeT. Search #operation in progress. Further details shall follow. @JmuKmrPolice,” Police said in another tweet.
IGP Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said that among the three militants killed in Pulwama is deputy of militant Basit and he was involved into the killings of two police officers. “Arif Hazar @ Rehan, deputy of LeT’s top cmdr (Basit) killed in Pulwama encounter. Involved in killings of Insp Parvez infront of mosque, SI Arshid and a mobile shop owner in downtown. Several FIRs against him in Sgr city. Identification of other 2 terrorists yet to done:IGP Kashmir,” police said in a tweet quoting IGP Kashmir.
“Rehan was recruited by LeT(TRF ) ex- chief Abbas Sheikh and was part of killer group of Late terrorist Mehran. After killing of Mehran, Bashit became no 1 and Rehan number 2,” IGP said.
Kashmir Police chief said that several FIRs were registered against Arif in different police stations.
Meanwhile a police press note said that based on specific input generated by Pulwama Police regarding presence of terrorists in Pahoo area of Pulwama, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Police and Army (50RR ) in the said area.
During the search operation, as the search party proceeded towards the suspected spot, the hiding terrorists fired indiscriminately upon the search party which was retaliated effectively leading to an encounter. Later on CRPF also joined the operation.
In the ensuing encounter, three terrorists linked with proscribed terror outfit LeT were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. They have been identified as Arif Ahmad Hazar @Rehan (Deputy of LeT’s top commander Basit), Abu Huzaifa @ Haqqani (Pakistani terrorist) and Natish Wani @Haider resident of Khanyar, Srinagar.
As per police records all the killed terrorists were part of groups involved in several terror crime cases including attacks on Police/SFs and civilian atrocities.
“Pertinently, the killed terrorist Arif Hazar was a categorized terrorist, active since March 2021 and involved in several terror crime cases including attacks on Police/SFs and civilian atrocities besides, several cases were registered against him in Srinagar city. He was involved in killing of Inspector Parvez in front of mosque at Menganwari Nowgam on 22-06-2021, killing of PSI Arshid Ahmad Mir near PS Khanyar on 12-09-2021, killing of police personnel Javaid Ahmad at Saidapora Eidgah on 17-06-2021, killing of mobile shop owner Umar Nazir Bhat at Main Chowk Habba Kadal on 23-06-2021, killing of civilian Mohammad Shafi Dar at SD Colony Batamaloo, killing of civilian Rouf Ahmad Khan outside his house at Mejinpora Safakadal on 22-12-2021. Besides, he was also involved in grenade attacks on Police Patrolling Party at Safakadal and joint Naka party at Rainawari. Moreover, he alongwith his associates was also involved in an attack on BJP leader’s residence at Aribagh, Nowgam Srinagar. In this terror attack one police personnel Rameez Raja attained martyrdom and his service rifle was also snatched. He was also involved in attack on two outside labourers at Suthsoo Kalan area of Nowgam on 22-04-2022,”the press note said.
Incriminating materials, arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation.
IGP Kashmir termed this operation a big success and congratulated the joint forces for carrying out the anti-terrorist operation in a professional manner without any collateral damage.