Militants Slain In Panthachowk Gunfight Were Affiliated With LeT: Police

SRINAGAR: Three militants killed in a gunfight with the counter-insurgent forces in Panthachowk area of Srinagar district were affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), police said.

CRPF men stand guard near the site of a gunfight in which three militants and a police officer were killed on the outskirts of Srinagar on Sunday, August 30, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

A police spokesman in a statement said,” Yesterday at about 2200hrs, in a weapon snatching bid militants fired indiscriminately upon a joint Naka party of Police and security forces at Panthachowk area of Srinagar.”

“ The attempt was foiled by the alert Naka party and militants managed to flee from the spot. However, they were followed by Police & CRPF and the whole area was completely cordoned off with the help of additional reinforcement including 20RR,” said the spokesman.

He said that during the cordon and search as the presence of hiding militants got ascertained, they were given the opportunity to surrender but they fired indiscriminately upon the search party.

“In the meantime, their respective families were also called and repeated surrender appeals were made to them through their family members. However, they refused to surrender and instead fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which was retaliated leading to an encounter,” he added.

The spokesman said that in the initial exchange of fire, one police personnel identified as ASI Babu Ram sustained grievous gunshot injuries. The injured was evacuated to nearby hospital for the treatment of his injuries where he succumbed to his injuries.

“Three militants got killed in the ensuing encounter and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. They have been identified as Saqib Bashir Khanday, Umar Tariq Bhat and Zubair Ahmad Shiekh all the residents of Drangbal Pampore. They were affiliated with proscribed outfit LeT,” he said.

He said that as per police records, the killed militants were part of groups involved in planning and executing several attacks in the area.

“Besides weapon snatching bid at J&K Bank Pampore, Saqib Bashir was also involved in motivating and radicalizing the youth of the area to join militant folds,” he added.

“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 his complicity in other crimes,” said police spokesman.

“Keeping in view the prevailing pandemic due to COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of people from inherent risk of contracting the infection, the dead bodies of the slain militants shall be sent to Handwara for burial purposes after completion of all medico-legal formalities. The nearest family members of the slain militants shall be allowed to participate in the last rites at Handwara,” he said.

“In this connection, a case under relevant sections of law has been registered in Police Station Panthachowk and investigation has been initiated,” he added.

“People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials, if any,” said police spokesman in a statement.

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