Doda ‘militancy free’ declare J&K policeUpdated: Jun 29, 2020 23:57 IST
Srinagar: The Jammu & Kashmir police on Monday declared the Union territory’s Doda district “totally militancy free”, saying the region’s last surviving Hizbul Mujahideen commander was killed in a counter-insurgency operation along with two Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists in adjoining Kashmir Valley’s Anantnag district.
Dilbag Singh, the Jammu & Kashmir police chief, called Masood Ahmad Bhat’s killing “a big success”. “Masood, a so-called commander of terrorist group Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed by security forces in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday morning. He was the last surviving terrorist from the Doda district which is [now] totally militancy free,’’ Singh said.
The three were killed after they fired on security forces and triggered a five-hour gunfight during a cordon and search operation in Anantnag’s Khulchohar area. In a statement, Jammu & Kashmir police said they were tipped about the presence of the three in the area. “During the search operation, the hiding terrorists fired on the joint search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter. In the ensuing encounter, three terrorists were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter,’’ the statement said. It added the other two terrorists could not be immediately identified.
The statement said the bodies of the three have been sent to Handwara, around 100 km away, for their last rites after conducting medico-legal formalities. ‘’In case any family claims the killed terrorists to be their kith or kin, they can come forward for their identification and participation in last rites at Handwara.’’
Slain terrorists have been buried away from their native places in Baramulla, Handwara, and Ganderbal due to Covid-19 restrictions over the last two months, which have coincided with an escalation of violence in the region.
Security forces have stepped up operations and killed over 100 terrorists this year mostly in South Kashmir. As many as 46 terrorists have been killed in June, the highest in a month since 39 were killed in November 2018. The 46 include commanders of Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.
Inspector general of police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said Monday’s operation was clean and that there was no collateral damage as security forces exercised maximum restraint.