Three militants killed in a gunfight with the government forces in Panzgam area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Saturday morning were affiliated with Hizb ul-Mujahideen, police said.
A police spokesman in a statement said, “On a credible input, a cordon and search operation was launched by police and security forces today morning at Panzgam area in Awantipora.”
“During the search operation, the hiding militants fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter,” he said.
“In the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. The slain militants have been identified as Showkat Dar of Panzgam Awantipora, Irfan War of Wadoora Payeen Sopore and Muzaffar Sheikh of Tahab Pulwama,” he added.
All the three slain militants, according to the police records, were affiliated with proscribed militant outfit HM. They were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of terror crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities. Several terror crime cases were registered against them,” said the spokesman.
“As per police records, Showkat Dar had a long history of crime records. He was involved in planning & executing a series of attacks in the area and many other civilian atrocities. He was part of a group involved in the killing of Army jawan Aurangzeb last year in 2018. He was also involved in the killing of a policeman Aqib Ahmad Wagay last year. Several crime cases were registered against him,” he said.
“Irfan War was part of militant groups responsible for conspiring and executing attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities in the area. Accordingly, crime cases were registered against him. Similarly, Muzafar Sheikh as per police records was also involved in several terror attacks on security establishments in the area. Several criminal cases were registered against him for terrorist activities,” he added.
“Incriminating materials including arms & ammunition was recovered from the site of encounter. Police has registered a case and all these materials have been taken in the case records for the purpose of investigation and to probe their complicity in other crimes,” the spokesman said.
“Pertinently, with the efforts of police and security forces, it was a clean operation and no collateral damage took place during the exchange of fire. Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any,” said the spokesman.