Violence Up: 8 Militants Killed in Kashmir Gunfights

Srinagar, May 18: The militancy related violence has suddenly gone up in Kashmir. Eight militants belonging to different militant groups were killed in three separate fierce gunfights with Indian army personnel in the violence-hit Kashmir.

Six militant owing allegiance to the Pakistan based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad were killed in a fierce gunfight with soldiers in South Kashmir on Saturday.

Giving details, police chief of Kashmir, S. M. Sahai said that a group of militants fired from automatic weapons towards a patrol party of para-military personnel at the village of Lurow Jagir, Tral, some 55 kms from the summer capital Srinagar. “The fire was returned by the troops and during the gunfight, the militants tried to escape,” he said, adding, “Reinforcement were rushed and the whole village was sealed off by army, para-military and police personnel”.

The police officer said that during the combing and search operation, militants opened fire towards the soldiers. “The fire was returned by the troops and in the ensuing gunfight, which lasted for more than seven hours and six Jaish militants were killed,” the police chief said.

He said that no collateral damage was caused in the encounter.

The police chief identified two of the slain militants as Waseem Hassan Ahanger alias Qari Asif and Mohammad Yousuf Bhat alias Prince. “Both the slain were top commanders of Jaish and were operating in South Kashmir for the past few years”, he added.

“The identity of other four slain militants is being ascertained,” he added.

The police chief claimed that a large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from the encounter site.

He termed the encounter as major success against the militants in recent months as a biggest group being hit. “The encounter is also an example of how the encounters have been refined with minimum collateral damage. With this encounter large number of Jaish militants and its leadership has been wiped out,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant commander was killed in a gunfight with police and army personnel in North Kashmir. The slain militant, who belonged to Pakistan, was identified as Tanveer Ahmad. A police officer claimed that he was active in North Kashmir from 2003.

Another militant owing allegiance to Jaish-e-Mohammad was killed in a five hour long gunfight with Indian army personnel at Tarkundi in the mountainous Poonch region of Kashmir. The identity of the slain militant is being ascertained.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.