Militants slain in Kulgam behind civilian killings, harassed locals: Army

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Srinagar: GOC Victor Force A Sengupta on Saturday said the four militants who were killed in Kulgam gunfight earlier in the day, were behind the killing of two civilians in south Kashmir.

GOC while addressing a press conference after the gunfight said, “Since the killing of two innocent civilians, the people of Nandimarg in Kulgam were reported the movement of three to four militants who were harassing them in search of food, shelter and extortion of money. We were getting these reports since April 1 and last night we received input about the presence of militants’ movement in Hardmanguri area of Khur Batpora of Kulgam. Accordingly, an operation was launched.”

Sengupta said in the operation four militants were killed. He identified them as Mohammad Ashraf Malik (Hibzul Mujahideen) of Arwani village, Shareef Sadiq of Khur Batpora, Waqar Ittoo of Chaealgam. “The fourth one, possibly the leader of this outfit, could be Aijaz Ahmed Naik of Chimmer,” he said.

“Before (the gunfight), we warned them to surrender but they retaliated, leaving no option for us but to launch the operation to kill them,” he said, adding, “Four weapons were recovered from the slain militants while as the search for the fifth one is underway.”

GOC further said, “We have ensured that the area of Kulgam remains peaceful and the civilians who are already facing problems due to COVID-19 disease and lockdown were unnecessarily harassed by militants. We appeal to people that they should not give shelter to militants who may be spreading the virus.”

When asked about the case history of the slain militants, GOC said the cases have been registered in police stations.

“They have been involved in the killing of two civilians and possibly some other incidents of extortion and looting,” he said. (GNS)

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