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3 militants, who murdered police constable, killed in Kulgam encounter

Inspector general of police, S P Pani said the trio was identified soon after the murder of constable Mohammad Saleem Shah, and eliminated.

india Updated: Jul 22, 2018 20:18 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Army soldiers near the site of encounter in southern district of Shopian, Jammu and Kashmir, India.(HT File Photo)

Three militants who were part of a group allegedly involved in the murder of a police constable in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, were killed in an encounter by security forces in Khudwani village of the district on Sunday.

Muawiya, a Pakistani, and locals, Suhail Ahmad Dar and Mudassar alias Rehaan were identified as the “prime accused” in the abduction and murder of constable Mohammad Saleem Shah on Saturday, a police spokesman said.

They were part of a joint group of militant outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM). Police did not clarify who belonged to which organisation.

They were trapped after a cordon-and-search operation by Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police, and CRPF in Khudwani early on Sunday morning, according to officials. As the security forces advanced, the hiding militants opened fire, leading to a brief encounter in which the three were killed, the spokesman said.

Inspector general of police, S P Pani said the trio was identified soon after the murder of constable Shah, and eliminated. “Co-conspirators involved in the case have also been identified and will be taken care of,” he said.

Shah’s body was found from a nursery near Redwani Payeen village on Saturday, a day after he was abducted from his home in Mutalhama in Kulgam.

State director general of police Shesh Paul Vaid tweeted that the militants had “tortured” Shah and “killed him brutally”. He and Army spokesperson Rajesh Kalia confirmed the death of the three militants.

The slain cop was the lone bread earner for his family and is survived by aged parents, two brothers and one unmarried sister.

Shah, who had come on leave to his home, is the 25th policeman who has been killed by the militants in Kashmir this year. Earlier this month, police constable Javaid Ahmad Dar was abducted from his house at Vehil in Shopian district and killed by militants.

Last month, Army soldier Aurangzeb was abducted from a private vehicle when he was going home for Eid in Shopian. His body was recovered from a Pulwama village.

The police spokesman said probe is on to ascertain the role of other co-conspirators in the constable’s killing.

He said Mauwiya’s involvement was established in a number of civilian killings while Suhail, a labourer, after dropping out of school, had joined the militants later.

Thousands of people turned up in Redwani and Katarsoo villages of Kulgam for the funerals of Suhail and Mudassar respectively, according to locals.

They said that even a few militants turned up in Redwani and fired shots in the air, in what is locally known as ‘gun salute’, during the funeral. Funerals of foreign militants are held under police watch.

Authorities suspended mobile internet services in Kulgam and Anantnag districts as a precautionary measure.

First Published: Jul 22, 2018 08:19 IST