It has all the elements of a Bollywood potboiler.
Two militants in jail together, rejoined militancy after their release. While one was killed in an encounter, another was folowed by the police as he came for his friends last rites and was gunned down by security forces later in the night. Both were buried on the same day.
A day after two Lashkar-e-Tayeeba (LeT) militants were killed in the village of Qoimoh in Kulgam area, two more LeT of the same group were killed between 2-3 am at village Trenz, in Shopian, just 20 kms away from Mondays encounter.
“On specific information, an operation was launched by the police and the army’s 44RR. Two militants were killed in the operation,” said a police spokesman.
Both militants were locals. Police identified them as Gowhar Ganie, a resident of Heff Shermal village, and Mudasir Bhat of Yamrach village, Kulgam area, 70 km south of Srinagar.
Ganie was a close associate of Gowhar Ahmad, a LeT militant killed on Monday afternoon in the Kulgam encounter. Both were in jail together and were released last year only to join the militant ranks again. Ahmad was killed along with a Pakistan-occupied Kashmir militant Hassan Bahai.
Sources said Ganie was spotted at the final rites of Ahmad on Monday when the police left the house after handing over the bodies to their relatives around 4:30 pm. Sources said Ganie came to see his slain associate, touched his face and left in the evening.
“We cannot confirm if Ganie came to see his dead associate. The militants won’t take that risk. However, we cannot rule it out since the body was in the hosue for whole night,” said additional SP Kulgam Muhammad Shafi Mir.
Sources said Ganaie was followed to a hideout in Kulgam area and was killed along with another militant, identified as Mudasir Bhat, in the dead of night.
“Mudasir Bhat and his namesake Mudasir Sheikh, residents of Yamrach, Kulgam, both in the age group of 17-22, disappeared on April 1 this year. Both joined LeT straight away,” said SP Mir.
Bhat had returned to his village just two months ago and his friend Sheikh is operating somewhere in north Kashmir.
“Reports suggest the LeT batch has two-three more active militants in our area headed by Rehman, a PoK resident,” said Mir.
After killing half of the group, the army is on a lookout for other militants. Hundreds of people participated in the funeral of the three local and one PoK militants on Tuesday.