JeM Commander Among 3 Militants Killed In Pulwama

2 September 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: A top Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) commander was among three militants killed in a fierce over night encounter in South Kashmir's Pulwama district today. A police spokesman said here that acting on a specific input, Special Operation Group (SOG) of Jammu and Kashmir police, Army's 44 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), 182 and 183 battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) cordoned off Hanjan Bala village last evening. He said that a search party was fired at from the house of Wali Muhammad Nengroo and troops returned the fire leading to an encounter. The spokesman said that search operation was suspended during the night and cordon was strengthened to prevent militants from fleeing. 'However, the searches were resumed and leading to a gun battle which continued till noon leading the killing of one militant, Showkat Ahmad. Troops blasted off the house which resulted in the killing of two other militants. Bodies off all three militants were recovered from debris. The bodies, after legal formalities, were sent to the respective villages of militants for burial. The dead militants were identified as Altaf Ahmad Rather, district commander, Farooq Ahmad Laway and Showkat Ahmad Dar. Showkat Ahmad Dar, joined militancy recently. His father, Ghulam Qadir Dar, was brought to the village to persuade his son to surrender, but Showkat didn't respond. DIG South Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said that the killing of Altaf is a setback to JeM in the area. He said the police tried to persuade Showkat but Altaf Rather stopped him from surrendering before us. Sources said Altaf Ahmad Rather, resident of Check Badrinath was active in the area for last 4 years. Police said that he was behind many militancy related incidents. 'Altaf's group was behind the weapon snatching incident at Pakharpora Shrine in June, this year, Police said. Farooq Ahmad Laway had joined the outfit five months ago. He was a carpenter by profession and was a resident of Hard Dalwan Charar-i-Sharief. A Defence spokesman said here that three militants were killed in a joint operation launched by Army, SOG and CRPF in Hajan Bala village of Rajpora, district Pulwama resulting into killing of three militants and recovery of two AK 47 rifles, one self loading Rifle, ammunition and other war like stores. The spokesman said that last evening, based on a specific intelligence input about presence of three terrorists at Hajan Bala village of Rajpora, a joint operation was launched by Army, JKP and CRPF. 'A tight cordon was established, blocking all escape routes. As the search operation commenced in the morning the terrorists hiding in the village opened fire upon the troops to break the cordon. The fire was retaliated, ensuing heavy exchange of fire between militants and the security forces resulting into the elimination of all the three militants. The bodies of the slain terrorists were recovered and handed over to the police', the spokesman said. Killing of militants sparked protests in adjoining villages of Hanjan Bala during which people pelted stones on Security forces leading to clashes. Police fired in air, used teargas and charged batons on protesters. At least a dozen protesters including Police men were injured in clashes. A complete shut down was observed in Muran, Drobgam, Rajpora, Rahmoo, Pakharpora, Kandi, Aglar, Dalwan, Dellow and Patrigam villages.