Five militants killed in two Kashmir encounters

Dead include JeM ‘commander’ Zahid Wani, a Pakistani militant Kafeel

Updated - January 30, 2022 09:57 pm IST

Published - January 30, 2022 08:49 am IST - Srinagar

Security personnel near the site of an encounter with militants at Tahab area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on January 30, 2022.

Security personnel near the site of an encounter with militants at Tahab area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on January 30, 2022.

Five militants, including Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) 'top commander' and the son of the house owner where the militants were hiding, were killed in two separate anti-militancy operations by the police and the Army on Sunday.

“Four terrorists were killed in Pulwama's Naira area. The hiding terrorists fired indiscriminately on the joint search parties (on Saturday evening),” Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said.

The police identified the slain militants as Zahid Ahmad Wani alias Uzair, ‘a top commander’ of the JeM from Pulwama's Karimabad; Kafeel Bhari alias Chotu, a Pakistani; Waheed Ahmad Reshi from Pulwama's Khadermoh-Kakapora and Inayat Ahmad Mir from Pulwama’s Naira.

Wani was a categorised terrorist and was active since May, 2017; his brother is in jail “for his role in militancy activities”, the police said.

‘Wani was one of the masterminds behind various improvised explosive device (IED) explosions and attacks on patrolling parties of the Army. He was also instrumental in motivating the gullible youth to join terror folds,” IGP Kumar said.

He said Kafeel was operating in the Pulwama-Shopian belt and was involved in a series of terror crime cases.

One M-4 rifle, two AK series rifles and two pistols were recovered from them, the police said. “Waheed has been active since 2021. Inayat, who is the son of the owner of the house where militants were hiding, was offered an opportunity to surrender but instead he opened fire and was killed,” Mr Kumar said.

He said Inayat would accompany the militants. As a result his family will also face charges the under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

However, Inayat’s family members and relatives claimed he was “innocent and had no links”.

“We vouch for Inayat’s innocence. He is a shepherd. He has been home for the past two days. His brother has also been arrested now. We appeal to the authorities to return the body of Inayat and release his brother,” said protesting relatives.

In another counter-militancy operation in Charar-e-Sharief that began on Saturday evening, a fifth militant, Bilal Ahmad Khan from Chill Brass Khan Sahab area in Budgam, was killed.

“One AK-56 rifle, two A-K magazines and five AK rounds have been recovered from the encounter site,” the police said.

Twenty-one militants, including eight foreigners, have been killed in 11 encounters in Kashmir in January 2022 so far.

IGP Kumar said foreign militants, who were hiding in forests, were coming and settling down in civilian areas. :”All efforts are in place to bring down local militant recruitment. A strategy is being followed to bring the number of active militants less than 100 this year,” he added.

Meanwhile, General Officer Commanding (GoC), Victor Force, Lieutenant General Prashant Srivastava described the killing of Wani and his associates as “a big success for forces”.

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