Three militants were killed on Thursday in two encounters in Kupwara district of Kashmir, while one each was killed in encounters in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district and in Kishtwar district of Jammu.
Security forces faced a challenge when villagers tried to save a trapped local militant commander at Puchul village in Pulwama.
“More than 100 civilians tried to enter the encounter site and started throwing stones at the security forces,” Pulwama senior superintendent of police Amit Kumar told HT.
Security forces baton charged and fired tear-smoke shells to push the villagers away. Three civilians were injured in the clash.
The militant, a local district commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), identified as Shakoor Ahmad Teli alias Abu Baker, was killed in the 10-hour-long encounter.
Around 20 militants have been killed in the last three months in Kupwara, Sopore and Bandipora belt.
On July 16, five top militant commanders, including those of LeT, were killed in Lolab area of Kupwara. On July 23, three more were killed in an encounter in Bagh-e-Hakhar in Kupwara’s Handwara area.
The frontier district of Kupwara, 110 km north of Srinagar, is emerging as a major militant infiltration route and a hotbed of militancy. There has been a recent spurt in infiltration bids and militant activity in the area. On July 12, army’s Chinar Corps GOC Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain had warned of active militant camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “There are about 700 militants waiting across the LoC in 42 camps,” Hasnain had said.
Between July 28 and 31, three army jawans and a junior commissioned officer lost their lives battling infiltration bids from across the border.
In both the bids, heavily armed militants were pushed back into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by the army.
“Militants are desperate to send replacements for their ranks as many militants have been neutralised in north Kashmir,” said a senior police officer who did not want to be named.