Dilbagh Singh addressing a press conference
Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Dilbagh Singh addressing a press conference in Srinagar (Photo: ANI)

SRINAGAR — Director General of J&K Police, Dilbagh Singh on Monday said that soon after the militants launched a strike at Kreeri, Pattan in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district while killing three security forces personnel, the forces engaged the attackers and killed three militants that include top most Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Sajad Haider, who was operating on the lines of slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani to recruit local boys into militancy.

The DGP said that two other slain militants were identified as Anayatullah Mir of Pattan and another Lashkar commander from Pakistan – Usman. Addressing a press conference at the Police Control Room here, the DGP said that one of the slain militants Sajad Haider alias Raja was one of the top most wanted commanders in J&K.

“He was like Burhan Wani and had joined militancy in the 2016 winters. Like Burhan, Sajad too would lure youth into militancy. We have arrested at least 20 youth who were recruited by Sajad besides many Over Ground Workers (OGWs),” the DGP Singh said.

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Flanked by the IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar, the DGP said that Sajad was involved in a series of “crimes and militancy-related incidents that include killing of fruit merchants, security forces personnel, non-local labourers etc.”

He said of late, Sajad had started working like slain Hizb commander Riyaz Naikoo and would release video messages to lure youth and to issue fresh threats to political workers and forces. “His killing is a big success for security forces,” the DGP said.

He said that Sajad had taken along one of his recruits Annayatullah Mir, who joined Lashkar in March this year, to carry out the attack. “Mir was injured in the first retaliation by one of our Head Constable just a few meters away from the attack spot where three security forces personnel were killed,” DGP Singh said.

He said the third militant was identified as Usman, a Pakistani, who was also operating with Sajad in the northern belt of Kashmir.

Asked about the sequence of the attack and retaliatory action by the forces, the DGP said that in the morning, militants attacked a joint patrolling cum Naka party of police and CRPF in which two CRPF men and a SPO were killed. “Just minutes after the attack, special operations group (SoG) of police engaged the militants and one was hit just at the bund, a few meters away from the attack site,” he said.

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“He later managed to go inside the orchards. In the meantime, SoG men surrounded the orchards and after they were joined by the Army and CRPF, one militant who was sitting on a tree, started firing. First he was killed by the security forces,” the DGP said, adding that “it was after him that the injured militant was killed.”

He said as forces kept searching the area, another militant fired and he too was engaged and later killed. “In total, three militants were killed in the operation that is still going on since morning,” the DGP Singh said.

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