Anantnag Gunfight: Slain Militants Identified

SRINAGAR: Three militants killed in a gunfight with the counter-insurgent forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district were affiliated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba outfit, police said.

A group of counter-insurgent forces at the encounter site in Kawarigam Ranipora area of Anantnag on Saturday, July 10, 2021. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

A police spokesman in a statement said that acting on specific information generated by Anantnag Police about the presence of militants in Kawarigam Ranipora area of Anantnag, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Police, 19RR and CRPF in the said area.

The spokesman said that during the search operation as the presence of militants got ascertained they were given repeated opportunities to surrender, however, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which was retaliated leading to an encounter.

“In the ensuing encounter, three militants of proscribed outfit LeT were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. They have been identified as Arif Hajam son of Ghulam Nabi Hajam resident of Sadoora, Basit Rashid Ganai son of Abdul Rashid Ganai resident of Audsoo Telwani Achabal and Suhail Mushtaq Bhat son of Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat resident of Karimabad Pulwama,” said the spokesman.

As per police records, the slain militants were part of a group involved in several crime cases including attacks on forces and civilian atrocities,” he said.

“As per police records, Arif Hajam was district commander of LeT for district Anantnag and was active since Sept-2018. He was also involved in the killing of on-leave Army personnel Havaldar Manzoor Beigh (162 TA) on 06/06/2019, attack during ‘Back to Village Programme’ in Hakura Anantnag wherein two civilians namely Syed Rafi Shah (Sarpanch) and Zahoor Ahmed Sheikh (Jr. Agriculture Officer) were killed. He was also involved in recruitment of youth of Anantnag in militant folds,” he added.

“Pertinently, Basit Rashid was also motivated by Arif Hajam to join militant ranks and was active since April-2021. He also remained part of the group involved in several crime cases including killing of two civilians namely Shahnawaz Ahmed Bhat and Sanjeed Ahmed Parray residents of Jablipora, Bijbehara on  29/05/2021,” said police spokesman in a statement.

“Incriminating materials including arms & ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other crimes,” he said.

“In this connection police have registered a case under relevant sections of law and investigation has been initiated. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared off of all the explosive materials, if any,” said a police spokesman in a statement.

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