Terrorists who killed boy, trooper shot dead in J&K

Two terrorists were killed in a gunbattle with security forces at Waghama in Jammu & Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Tuesday, four days after they fired at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) patrol and left a trooper of the paramilitary force and an eight-year-old boy dead, a top police officer said.

Inspector general (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said the two and their another accomplice, Zahid Daas, were involved in the killing of a policeman last year as well as the CRPF trooper and the boy. He appreciated the forces for exercising the utmost restraint and ensuring a clean operation with no collateral damage in Waghama.

Police released Daas’s picture and said he was involved in the attack on the CRPF patrol on Friday.

The gunbattle in Waghama was triggered after the two terrorists fired at security forces during a cordon-and-search operation that was launched following specific information about the terrorist presence in the village.

“During the search operation, as the presence of terrorists got ascertained, they were given the opportunity to surrender. However they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter,” said a police statement. The identities of the two slain terrorists were not immediately ascertained.

The police statement said arms and ammunition were also recovered from gunbattle site. It added the bodies of the two were sent to Handwara, around 100 km away, for their burial after medico-legal formalities.

“In case any family claims the killed terrorists to be their kith or kin, they can come forward for their identification and participation in last rites at Handwara,” the statement said.

Slain terrorists have been buried away from their native places in Baramulla, Handwara, and Ganderbal due to Covid-19 restrictions over the last two months, which have coincided with an escalation of violence in the region.

Security forces have stepped up operations and killed 128 terrorists this year mostly in South Kashmir. As many as 48 terrorists have been killed in June, the highest in a month since 39 were gunned down in November 2018.

The Jammu & Kashmir police on Monday declared the Union territory’s Doda district “totally militancy free”, saying the region’s last surviving Hizbul Mujahideen commander was killed in a counter-insurgency operation along with two Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists in adjoining Kashmir Valley’s Anantnag district.

Dilbag Singh, the Jammu & Kashmir police chief, said anti-terror operations were going at full throttle with the killing of 128 terrorists this year so far even as terrorist launchpads remained active and Pakistan was trying to push more militants into the region. “Our security forces have foiled their sinister designs and will keep doing so,” he said during a visit to Poonch along the LoC.

He said of the 128, 70 belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen, 20 each to Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, and the remaining to other outfits.

Singh called South Kashmir the epicentre of terrorism and added security forces have been successful in eliminating militants in large numbers there. He added only 24 militants remain active in the region.

“The positive development is that naive and gullible youth, who used to be brainwashed by the terrorists and their OGWs [overground workers] are not taking up arms. Their number has come down drastically. They have been motivated by their families and security forces to lead a normal and productive life.”

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