SRINAGAR — J&K Police on Wednesday said that three “militants” were killed in a gunfight in Hokersar area in the outskirts of Srinagar city and none of them were on its list of “militants, yet two of them were hardcore associates (OGWs of militants) while third one might have joined very recently.”

“On 29-12-2020, at about 05:30 PM, troops of 2 RR launched a Cordon and Search Operation on a specific input near Hokersar where the ‘militants’ hurled grenade on the searching party and fired indiscriminately on troops while laying cordon,” a police spokesperson said.

It added, “On receipt of this information, Srinagar police immediately along with Police Component Srinagar and Valley QAT CRPF rushed to the spot,” the spokesperson said, adding, “Search party of 02 RR was heavily fired upon by the ‘militants’ hiding inside the building which was retaliated.”

Repeated announcements were made to the hiding ‘militants’ to lay down their “illegal weapons” and surrender but instead they fired continuously upon the searching party, the spokesman said further in the statement.

“Due to darkness, the operation was suspended. However, the cordon remained intact throughout night,” the spokesman said, adding, “On 30th morning with the first light, repeated announcements were again made to hiding ‘militants’ to surrender but the ‘militants’ fired indiscriminately on security forces which was retaliated again, resulting in elimination of ‘militants’.”

The operation ended at 11:30 hrs in which all the three “hiding militants” were killed.

“Upon their search, arms (one AK-47 rifle & two pistols) and ammunition and other incriminating material along with some documents were recovered,” the spokesman said.

From the “recoveries”, the spokesman said, their identity has been established as Ajaz Maqbool Ganie, Ather Mushtaq, both residents of Pulwama and Zubair Lone, resident of Shopian.

“Some families from south Kashmir came to PCR and claimed them to be their wards. They were sent to Ganderbal for further identification and participation in last rites in the presence of Magistrate,” the statement said.

It added, “In this connection, a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and investigation has been initiated.”

“It is pertinent to mention that a few militant incidents have occurred in this area recently and reportedly these ‘militants’ also came from south Kashmir to target convoy of security forces,” the spokesman said, adding, “Although the three killed ‘militants’ in today’s encounter were not mentioned in our list of militants, yet two of them are hardcore associates (OGWs of militants).”

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Pertinently, the spokesman said, one of the two was a relative of top HM (Hizbul Mujahideen) commander Rayees Kachroo who was killed in 2017.

“Reportedly, third might have joined very recently,” the spokesman said, adding, “Generally parents don’t have idea about the activities of their wards. Several OGWs after committing militant crimes like grenade throwing and pistol shooting etc stay normally with their family.”

For instance, the spokesman said, “One student from Pulwama who was taking coaching in Srinagar was caught for lobbying a grenade with the help of CCTV’s footage. His parents were totally unaware about his militant activities.”

However, the spokesman said, “Police is investigating the case and after thorough investigation, will come to the conclusion soon on merits.”

“It is pertinent to mention here that the trio killed in today’s encounter were given ample opportunity to surrender, both yesterday evening and today morning but they didn’t surrender and instead fired and lobbed grenades on search party,” the statement said.

IGP Kashmir, the spokesman said, has requested the parents to keep close watch of their wards and keep strict vigil about their day to day activities to ensure that they may not indulge in any subversive or militant activities.

“Three militants killed in Lawaypora gunfight were planning a big attack”

General officer Commanding (GoC) Kilo Force H S Sahi said that the three ‘militants’ killed in the encounter at Lawaypora on Srinagar outskirts were planning a big strike on the highway to gain publicity.

Addressing a joint press conference at 2 RR headquarters at Zainakote, HMT, Srinagar, GoC Kilo Force said that in the past one week, five militants including a Pakistani national were killed in two separate gunfights in north Kashmir.

“Since past many days, intelligence inputs were pouring in continuously about the movement of militants on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. Yesterday, we developed leads and came to know that ‘militants’ are hiding in a house right opposite to Noora Hospital at Lawaypora in HMT area,” Sahi said.

He said that when the presence of ‘militants’ got established, Army’s 2 RR, Police and the CRPF repeated asked them to surrender.

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“The ‘militants’ fired indiscriminately at security forces and lobbed grenades as well. The operation was put on a halt due to dark but cordon layers were tightened. With the first light of the day, the firefight again resumed and ‘militants’ used heavy ammunition against security forces,” the GoC said, adding that in the ensuing gunfight, three ‘militants’ were killed.

“This was a clean operation and there was no causality to the security forces,” said GoC Sahi, who was flanked by commander 10 sector RR Naresh Mishra and SP West Shehzad Saliar, besides other officials of Army and Police.

To a query why militants are choosing Srinagar outskirts, he said, “Militants choose Srinagar outskirts or highways to carry out attacks on security forces to get maximum publicity. The nature of ammunition used by the ‘militants’ in today’s gunfight, suggests they were planning a big strike on the highway.”

He said that another reason why militants choose Srinagar outskirts is because the area has a congested locality, lanes, and by-lanes. “They perhaps feel these areas are safe heaven for them,” he said, adding “But our intelligence grid is very strong and will not allow to carry out any major strike in these areas. January 26 is coming and they may try to play some mischief, but we are alert and will foil their all plans.”

Families of slain ‘militants’ stage protest, say ‘our sons are not militants’

The families of militants killed in an encounter at Lawaypora on Srinagar outskirts staged a protest outside Police Control Room (PCR) Srinagar, alleging that slain were not militants and two of the three youth killed had left their homes yesterday only for some work.

The families of two slain militants assembled outside PCR here and staged a protest.

The families said that slain Athar and Aijaz from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district were innocent and had left home yesterday to get admission in a tuition point here for Class 12th session.

“Both are students and appeared in the Class 11th examinations,” cousin brother of Athar said. The families demanded justice and appealed the higher ups to look into the matter.

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