Once a hot-bed, Pulwama’s Tral area has only six active militants

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SRINAGAR — Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district has only six active militants at present, officials said on Friday.

According to reports reaching here, Tral area which was considered as the hot-bed of militants till 2017 has just six active militants who belong to four different outfits.

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Tral was the home to top militant commanders like Burhan Wani, Zakir Moosa and Hamad Khan. A senior police official said that Tral area was a concern for security agencies given the number of active militants that once was more than 30. “But the total number of active militants has been reduced to just six only,” he said.

The active militants are associated with Hizb, Lashkar, Jaish and Ansar Gazwat ul Hind, he said

Last year, around 30 local militants belonging to different areas of Tral were active but back to back successful encounters have reduced the number of local militants, he added.

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In Police district Awantipora, around 18 militants are active but most of them belong either to Awantipora area or Samboora Pampore area and only few are active in Tral belt, he said adding that security agencies are on toes to neutralize the remaining militants as early as possible.

Notably, after scrapping of Article 370, Awantipora police district has witnessed six encounters in which 14 militants were killed while as rest south Kashmir witnessed just 4 encounters in which 9 militants were killed after August 05.

“On October 23, 2019, three militants including the successor of Zakir Moosa, Hamid Lone aka Hamid Lelhari and his two associates namely Junaid Bhat and Naveed Tak, all locals were killed in an encounter in Rajpora area of Awantipora,” the official said.

He said that in January 2020, a newly joined militant namely Shahid Ahmad Dar, resident of Arwani, was killed in an encounter in Sail Chursoo of Awantipora.

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“On January 12, 2020, three Hizb militants namely Umar Fayaz alias Hamad Khan, the top commander of Hizb, Aadil Bashir and Faizan Hamid were killed in an encounter in Gulshanpora of Tral,” the official said.

He said, “On January 21, 2020, a top non-local Jaish militant Abu Saifullah was killed in Sothpathran, Khrew area of Awantipora and 17 days after the encounter, body of another local militant Rayees Ahmad from Zovastan Tral was found from the spot.”

Another police official, on condition of anonymity, said that the killing of Qari Yasir, Hammad Khan and Hameed Lelhari has halted the recruitment process in the area. “There is a considerable decline in the local militant recruitment in the past over a year,” he said.

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