Encounter on with trapped militants in Kulgam

Security agencies suspect three to five militants might be hiding at the site

November 17, 2023 12:30 am | Updated 12:30 am IST - SRINAGAR

A security official keeps vigil during an encounter with militants, in Kulgam, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.

A security official keeps vigil during an encounter with militants, in Kulgam, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Security forces have encircled a group of militants and exchanged heavy fire during an operation in south Kashmir’s Kulgam on Thursday evening.

A police spokesman said the encounter started at the Samno pocket of the D.H. Pora area of Kulgam district. The police and security forces were on the job.

The area was rattled with heavy exchange of gunfire between the trapped militants and the security forces. Locals said the security forces directed them to stay indoors.

Official sources said flood lights were installed around the encounter site to ensure that the militants do not escape. Multiple layers of cordon have been laid by the security forces. Security agencies suspect three to five militants might be hiding at the site.

Top ‘commander’ killed

Meanwhile, the Army said the recent killing of two infiltrators near the Line of Control in north Kashmir’s Baramulla included a top ‘commander’, who handled launching of militants into the Kashmir Valley from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“The Operation Kali in the Uri Sector led to the killing of the launching commander, Bashir Ahmed Malik, from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He had been active for more than three decades,” Colonel Raghav, Army’s Commanding Officer in-charge of the Uri Sector, said during a press conference in Baramulla.

Two infiltrators were killed on November 15 in the Uri Sector during a joint operation of the Army and the police.

The Army officer said the exact number of casualties were not known due to the area’s proximity to the LoC. Two bodies of the terrorists were recovered, along with warlike stores, including two AK series rifles, two pistols, four hand grenades, ammunition, medical supplies, edibles, Pakistani currency, and identity documents, he said.

The slain militants were identified as Bashir Ahmed Malik and Ahmed Gani Sheikh. “Malik played a crucial role in cross-border terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir. He was a launching commander of PoK. His activeness in infiltration activities has resulted in the loss of a significant number of Indian citizens, including soldiers,” the Army officer said.

He described Malik’s killing as “a severe blow to the terror infrastructure across the LoC and its sympathisers”. The Army believes that Malik’s killing would “reduce the number of infiltrations in the Leepa region, which is opposite Rajouri.”

Meanwhile, the Army said infiltration attempts have not reduced despite winters in Kashmir. “This indicated the adversary’s desperation and terrorist organisations’ determination to disrupt peace in the Valley,” the Army officer said. 

“We won’t allow any breach of the LoC. We have a robust security grid along the LoC. We are well-prepared to thwart any nefarious designs of the adversary or any terrorist organisation to create trouble in the Valley,” he added.

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