LeT Div Comdr Among 3 Killed, 2 Soldiers Injured In Handwara

LeT Div Comdr Among 3 Killed, 2 Soldiers Injured In Handwara

3 December 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Security forces today killed divisional commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant outfit and his two associates in a fierce overnight gun battle in North Kashmir’s Handwara area during which two Army personnel were also injured. Director General of Police, Ashok Prasad, told a press conference in Handwara that police got information about the presence of the militants in the area and developed it that led to the successful operation. The police chief said that Police, Special Operations Group of the Police, 30 Rashtriya Rifles and 21 RR of Army launched a joint operation yesterday during which the three militants of the LeT were killed. Giving details of the encounter, a defence spokesman said that based on specific intelligence, a joint operation of 21 and SOG Police was launched on December 2 in Rajpora Village of Kupwara District, resulting into elimination of three foreign militants, including a divisional commander and recovery of three weapons. The spokesman said that during the cordon and search operation, the militants were holed up in a house in the village where they were challenged and given an opportunity to surrender. “The contact was established with the militants opening up fire at the Army troops”, the spokesman said adding that security forces retaliated and heavy fire fight ensued which continued throughout the night between holed up militants and security forces. The spokesman said that in the the wee hours today, the house from where the militants were firing, caught fire. Later, during the search operations in the morning, three charred bodies along with three burnt AK 47 Rifles and 10 burnt magazines were recovered from the site. The spokesman identified the militants as Abu Vikas, divisional commander of LeT, Qari Numan and Obeid. “Moreover, at the time of the search, a grenade exploded from within the debris, resulting into minor injuries to two Army soldiers. The operations were surgical with no collateral damage”, the spokesman added. The spokesman said that Lt Gen Gurmit Singh, the Chinar Corps Commander, commended the soldiers and commanders of Army involved in the operations and appreciated the police personnel for commitments. The DGP told the press conference that militants have changed their strategy as after targeting the Panchayat members last year they are now targeting security forces. He said that security forces are maintaining utmost retrain to avoid collateral damage. Prasad said that militants are attacking police in the crowded places to provoke collateral damage but police is maintaining utmost retrain and are taking casualties. The DGP said that security forces are also working out a strategy to minimise security forces casualties in militant attacks. Prasad said that 180 militants are active in the State with local militants constituting 30 per cent. “Out of 180, there are 30 percent locals who are active and rest are foreigners”, he added. The DGP said that the role of the State Police is to reduce the collateral damage and that it has in the past also tried its best to minimize the civilian casualties during the militancy related operations. “We have witnessed particularly from the last few years, the collateral damage is on decline during encounters due to the efforts of police.”