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Five militants were killed in two separate encounters that took place on Sunday in South Kashmir, said police.
Police said three militants including a teenager were killed in orchards in between the Chitragam area of the Shopian district.
The operation started on Saturday after the police received input about the presence of militants in the area. After the presence of the militants was confirmed, the militants were given an opportunity to surrender during the search operation, however, the militants fired upon the joint search party which retaliated leading to an encounter, police said.
The police said in the initial encounter one militant was killed and one Ak-57 rifle and two pistols were recovered from the encounter site.
The police said the operation was suspended to give the trapped militants another chance to surrender but they refused to surrender and in the wee hours both the trapped militants including teenage Faisal Gulzar, 14, were killed.
Faisal had left his home on April 6, 2021, to join militancy. The police said that the militants were part of groups involved in many militancy-related cases and linked with proscribed outfit Al-Badr.
The police said the last rites of the killed militants will be performed at the Handwara area of north Kashmir and their nearest family members will be allowed to participate in the last rites.
Since last year, the police have stopped handing over the bodies of the killed militants to their relatives.
The other encounter took place in Kashmir’s Anantnag district. The police said based on inputs received about the presence of two militants in the Bijbehara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district a joint operation was launched on Saturday by the army, the police, and the CRPF.
The police said that while searching the target house, militants hiding inside opened fire which subsequently lead to the encounter. The police said civilians in the area were evacuated and the operation was halted for a night.
The operation was resumed on Sunday morning and both the militants were killed in the exchange of fire. The police recovered two AK 47 rifles were recovered from their possession.
The killed militants were identified as Towseef Ahmad Bhat of Bijbehara and Aamir Hussain Ganie of Goriwan Bijbehara, Anantnag. Towseef was active in militancy since 2017 and Aamir had joined militant ranks in 2018.
The police said both of them were wanted in many crimes including in the killing of a Territorial Army soldier Mohamamd Saleem Akhoon. Akhoon was killed by them near his home in Goriwan Bijbehara on Friday.
“After this incident, round the clock track teams were set out to track them down and to bring them to justice. The teams finally zeroed them in resulting in the encounter,” a police spokesman said. The police said both the militants were wanted in an attack on a CRPF party in which one CRPF jawan was killed last year.
In a span of less than 4 months, 36 militants have been killed in different encounters across the Valley. Of 36, 19 belong to the Shopian district alone. All 36 militants killed since January were local Kashmiris. According to sources, so far not a single foreign militant has been killed in any encounter this year.
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