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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Top Hizbul Mujahideen militant killed in encounter in Kashmir’s Pulwama

The militant killed in the operation, which ended on Tuesday afternoon, was identified as Hilal Ahmad Rather of Behgambagh Kakapora.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2019 07:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Army soldiers move towards the house where militants were hiding during an encounter in Ratnipora area of Pulwama district of south Kashmir on February 12.
Army soldiers move towards the house where militants were hiding during an encounter in Ratnipora area of Pulwama district of south Kashmir on February 12.(PTI Photo)
         

A top Hizbul Mujahideen militant who helped Pakistani terrorist commander Naveed Jutt escape from a hospital last year while he was in police custody was killed in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday in an encounter that also left one soldier dead and another injured.

The encounter took place when army soldiers and the special operation group of Jammu and Kashmir police were conducting a search in Pulwama’s Ratnipora late Monday night after receiving information about the presence of a group of militants in the village, the police said. As the troops came close to the house where the militants were holed up, the men inside opened fire, triggering the gunfight that continued through the night.

The militant killed in the operation, which ended on Tuesday afternoon, was identified as Hilal Ahmad Rather of Behgambagh Kakapora, located five kilometres from the encounter site.

Police said that he was affiliated to the Hizbul Mujahideen and had joined militant ranks in 2018. The slain army soldier was identified as Havaldar Baljeet Singh of Karnal, Haryana, who was part of the 50 Rashtriya Rifles unit.

Rather was involved in the escape of Jutt from SMHS Hospital in Srinagar in February last year, a police spokesman said. The militants who helped Jutt escape shot dead two policemen who were escorting Jutt, who was finally killed in November on the outskirts of Srinagar.

“Rather had a long history of terror crime and was wanted by law [enforcement agencies] for his complicity in a series of terror crimes including attacks on security establishments... a case was registered against him, which pertains to the terrorist attack inside the premises of SMHS hospital,’’ the police spokesman said.

The body of the militant was handed over to his family and buried in his village amid pro-freedom slogans. Officials have suspended mobile internet services in the area.

On Sunday, five militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Taiba were killed in an encounter in Kilam village of Kulgam district. Last week, a Lashkar district commander was also killed by security forces in Chookara village of Pulwama in a brief encounter.

So far this year, 26 militants, including Rather, have been killed in encounters with security forces, mainly in south Kashmir.

First Published: Feb 13, 2019 07:16 IST