Top JeM Commander Among 5 Militants Killed In Shopian

15 January 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: In a major success against militants in South Kashmir, five militants of Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) including top JeM commander were killed in a fierce gun battle in the Kellar forests of South Kashmir's Shopian district today. A police spokesman said that five militants including top commander of JeM was killed in an encounter with police and security forces in Gader forests in Kellar area of Shopian this afternoon. The spokesman while giving details said that on a tip off, Shopian police along with 44 RR and CRPF launched a search operation in forest area of Gader in Kellar area of Shopian, this morning. 'During the searches, militants present in the forest fired upon the joint search team, triggering an encounter in which five militants were killed. 3 AK rifles, one SLR rifle and one pistol have been recovered from the encounter site so far', the spokesman added. The militants have been identified as Abu Toiba of Pakistan, Shakeel Ahmed Wani alias Master of Pakherpora district Budgam, Tahir Ahmed Shah of Aglar Kandi district Pulwama, Parvaiz Ahmed Wagay of Butmuran district Shopian and Ishfaq Ahmad Wani of Arwani, Bijbehara in district Anantnag. Police said that Toiba was group Commander of Jaish, who had shifted from North Kashmir to South last year and was instrumental in orchestrating militant attacks in South Kashmir. Reports said that these militants had made a forest mud hut as their hideout during winters and security forces after receiving information about their presence cordoned the forest area. Police sources said that these militants were involved in various militant activities including attacks on Panchayat members and issuing threats to them. Police said that it is a major success against the militants operating in South Kashmir. An Army spokesman said that based on specific joint intelligence of Army and Police about presence of militants in a hideout in the upper reaches of Kohrut area of the Shopian, joint operation was launched by Rashtriya Rifles unit of Army and the SOG. 'Five terrorists were killed and 3 AK-47 rifles, one SLR, one Chinese pistol, magazines, ammunition and other war like stores were recovered from them', the spokesman added. 'Intelligence inputs about presence of 4-5 terrorists in a hideout in the forest area of Kohrut, Shopian was received by the Rashtriya Rifles during late evening of January 14. The operation was launched by 9.30 pm on the same night and an effective cordon was established by 3.30 am on January 15 by the Rashtriya Rifle unit and SOG, blocking all possible escape routes', the spokesman added. The spokesman further said: 'As the noose was tightened in the morning hours, the terrorists hiding in the forest area opened heavy volume of fire. In the ensuing fire fight and precise engagement by the Army personnel, two terrorists were eliminated. Search of the area led to recovery of 3 AK-47 rifles, one SLR, one Chinese pistol, Magazines, ammunition and other war like stores. Out of five terrorists four were local and one was Foreign Terrorist.' General Officer Commanding (GOC) Lt General Subrata Saha, commended the Rashtriya Rifles and Police personnel for generation of effective intelligence and conduct of surgical operations. 'This is the second successful operation of 2015 in last 24 hours. Including these five terrorists, a total of six terrorists have been eliminated in 2015. First such operation in 2014 was conducted on January 7 at Tokun near Panjgam wherein one terrorist was eliminated', the spokesman said. One of the militants Shakeel Ahmed Wani was a Post Graduate and government teacher before joining Jaish-e-Muhammad in July last year. He came on the radar of intelligence agencies after a group of militants including he snatched weapons from police men who were guarding a local shrine in Budgam's Pakharpora last year.