South Kashmir gunfights: “Maintained sanctity of mosque,” says Kashmir police

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In south Kashmir, eight militants were killed in two separate gunfights in the last 24 hours by the government forces.

In Meej village of Pampore in Pulwama district, three militants were killed, while five more militants were killed in another gunfight in Bandpawa village of Shopian district.

About the gunfight in Meej village, where two militants had reportedly taken refuge in a local mosque, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar said that “patience and professionalism worked”.

“No use of firing and IED [Improvised Explosive Device]. Used tear smoke shells only. Maintained sanctity of the mosque,” Mr. Kumar told a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO). “Both militants hiding inside the mosque neutralized.” 

In recent gunfights, the government forces have damaged dozens of residential houses during the gunfights.

Defence spokesman in Srinagar, Rajesh Kalia also said that “maintaining the sanctity of the mosque”, two militants hiding inside the mosque have been killed. “It was a precise operation with no collateral damage ensured,” he said.

In Bandwapa village, one unidentified militant was killed yesterday. Unnamed officials told KNO that the operation, which was suspended in the night, resumed at dawn, and four more militants were killed, taking the total number of militants killed to five.

An unnamed government official told KNO that as the operation progressed, heavy gunfire was exchanged. “The bodies of five slain [militants] have been retrieved and their identity and affiliation is being ascertained,” the unnamed official said, adding that the arms and ammunition have been recovered.

Earlier, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar had claimed that militancy has been almost wiped out from south Kashmir and the focus will shift towards north Kashmir from next month.

So far, this year, 102 militants, including top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Muhammad, and Lashkar-e-Taiba, were killed. Among them were Riyaz Naikoo, the chief operational-commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, Bashir Koka of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Abdur Rehman, alias Fouji Bhai, of Pakistan, who was an IED expert of Jaish-e-Mohammad. (KNO)

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