The police on Monday said it killed two militants, including a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) divisional commander involved in a botched up suicide attack on a Srinagar hotel earlier this year, in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. A cop was also killed in the gun battle.
According to the police, a cordon was thrown around Dodhipora village in Kulgam, 65 km south of Srinagar, by the police along with the army’s 9 Rashtriya Rifles to nab hiding militants on Monday afternoon. There was intelligence gathering from the ground that the militants are staying in the village.
“During the combing operation, the hiding militants fired upon the search party, triggering an encounter,” said Srinagar-based police spokesman.
Initially, the militants were able to break the cordon to flee from the village. A police tea, and the army personnel, however, chased them to a nearby Bogam village.
“Later, in exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces, two LeT militants were killed,” said the police officer.
One local LeT militant, Mudasir Sheikh alias Maviya, who, according to the police, was divisional commander, was also killed. He is a resident of Yamrach, Kulgam. Other slain militant has been identified as Tameem, a resident of Pakistan.
“Both the militants were involved in the Silver Star Hotel attack,” said the spokesman adding a cop also lost his life in the encounter. He has been identified as head constable Niyaz Ahmad.
The mopping operation was on till reports came in.
On October 19, a group of militant made an abortive bid to enter into the hotel on the Jammu-Srinagar-Baramulla national highway near Srinagar. Two civilians died in the attack.
Monday’s operation was fourth such combing drive against the militants in the past 11 days.
Since December 13, the valley witnessed four major encounters. Three separate encounters occurred in north Kashmir’s Sopore area and Monday’s encounter took place in south Kashmir.
A total of 11 militants were killed in these gun battles.
The security forces have upped their anti-militancy operation this winter because militants prefer to come down from forest areas because of cold and snow and take shelter in residential colonies and villages.
Around 50 locals, mainly students, have joined the LeT ranks in 2012, touted to be the most peaceful summer by the government.