The killing of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani which has the Kashmir Valley in the grip of a fresh spell of violence was not an operation meant to target him, top sources have told HT.
Joint teams of the Jammu and Kashmir police and the army launched an intelligence-based operation at village Bumdoora in Kokernag on Friday. “We had inputs regarding the presence of another local militant Sartaj Ahmed Sheikh but did not know that Wani too was present at the same location,” a senior army officer said.
A senior J-K police official confirmed that the intelligence was not specific to Wani, the new-age militant who had become a poster boy of the insurgency and wielded influence over the youth in Kashmir through social media.
“It was not a targeted killing of Burhan Wani . He was killed in retaliatory fire,’’ SM Sahai, additional general-director of police, confirmed to HT.
The operation on Friday was based on intelligence that Sheikh was present at the house of his maternal uncle Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh in Bumdoora. In an encounter that lasted three hours, three militants, including Wani and Sheikh, were killed and one policeman injured.
Wani’s death has led to an unprecedented clampdown and large-scale violence in the state. Protesters continue to attack police stations and target paramilitary camps. Sahai confirmed that policemen with weapons were still missing. He repeated the call made at a press conference on Saturday, urging elders to caution their children against joining militancy.