23 militants killed, 40 OGWs arrested in 50 days of 2020 in Jammu and Kashmir



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People raise pro-freedom slogans during the funeral of militant Irfan Ahmad Bhat who was killed on Saturday evening in an encounter with government forces in Shopian. Photograph by Vikar Syed for The Kashmir Walla

Srinagar: Three militants affiliated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen were killed in a gunfight that raged between forces and militants in Sherabad village of Tral in Awantipora area in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, Jammu and Kashmir Police chief, Dilbagh Singh said on Wednesday, reported wire-service KNO. 

A Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) was launched in the area following specific inputs about the presence of militants in the area.

“The search party when approached towards the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired towards forces, which was retaliated, thus triggering an encounter,” officials said, adding that in the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed.

However, Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh while addressing a presser here at Police Control Room (PCR) Srinagar, identified the slain trio as Jehangir Rafiq Wani alias Umar Mukhtar, Raja Umer Maqbool Bhat and Uzair Ahmed Bhat.

He said Jehangir had taken over Hizb after the outfit’s former commander Hammad. The DGP said that Jehangeer was besides involved in attacks on security forces was involved in the killing of two civilians who he identified as Mehraj-ud-din Zargar in November 2019 and Ghulam Nabi Mir in February 2020.

DGP further added that after abrogation of Article 370, Jehangeer along with Raja Umar was also involved in torching a Masjid in Tral, chemist shop and trucks, saying that his actions had created fear in the area.

Giving details about the anti-militancy operations, the DGP who was accompanied by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar said that in the current year 2020, 10 successful anti-militancy operations took place across Jammu and Kashmir, adding that two among them took place in Jammu while eight among them took place in Kashmir.

He added in these gunfights, 23 militants were killed, saying that 19 among them were killed in Kashmir while four others were killed in Jammu region. He also said that during these operations, no collateral damage took place.

The DGP also said that several militant modules were busted in 2020 while 40 Over Ground Workers (OGW) of militants were also arrested, saying that it has also come to the fore that militants were planning a Fidayeen attack on 26 January here.

He added although the local youth joining militant ranks has witnessed steep decline while eight among local youth who had picked up guns in 2020 have returned to the mainstream.

The DGP further divulged that the ceasefire violation from across Line of Control (LoC) has increased to push the militants already ready on launching pads to infiltrate here. “However, the forces there are giving befitting reply to the ceasefire violation and are also making their attempts unsuccessful,” he said, adding that some of the attempts to push militants into Kashmir were successful. “The militants who were killed in Jammu region had also infiltrated recently, which is being investigated,” he said.

He further stated that a large number of militants at the launch pads are waiting for infiltration. “All those launch pads remained active this year despite snow to infiltrate whenever there is an opportunity,’’ he said.

Jammu and Kashmir police chief further stated that “on Tuesday, a drone from Pakistan crossed into India in Kathua and returned after the BSF opened fire.”

The DGP also stated that police and other forces will always help and work to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

About deferment of Panchayat elections, the DGP said that it is a government’s decision and there must be solid grounds for deferring the by-elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked about the visit of Donald Trump in India, Singh said that they are hopeful that the US President’s visit to India will pass off peacefully. “Two foreign delegations have visited Kashmir and they observed normalcy in Kashmir,” Singh said at a press conference in Srinagar.

“There are some apprehensions, like always, militants are still present in good numbers, we hope visit passes off peacefully, we have security arrangements in place”. (KNO)

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