Army confirms militants were ‘foreigners’ and says the security forces first asked them to surrender, but killed the militants when fired upon.
New Delhi: A week after killing six Lashkar-e-Taiba militants in a joint operation, security forces Tuesday killed three more Pakistanis in the Wuchar area in Handwara in northern Kashmir.
Meanwhile, another gun battle began Tuesday evening in Gujjarpati Zirhama area of Kupwara in north Kashmir. A spokesperson for the Army said that one soldier was killed and two soldiers were injured in the operation.
Speaking to ThePrint, an Indian Army spokesperson said the three foreigners were killed in Handwara after a cordon and search operation was launched jointly by the Army, the Central Reserve Police Force, and the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
“We had inputs late evening Monday about the presence of militants in a house. We contacted them Tuesday morning asking for surrender, but they answered with firing. All the three were killed; arms and ammunition was recovered from them,” the Army official said.
The Army called it a “surgical-style operation” (one in which the military attack is intended to inflict damage on a specific target with little or no collateral damage), underlining the concern to make “less impact” on the local population of the area.
The identity of the militants is yet to be established.
“Three LeT terrorists all Pakistanis neutralised in Magam area of Handwara district in North Kashmir. Excellent work!” Director-General of Police S.P. Vaid tweeted.
On 17 November, six Pakistani militants were killed in another such operation. Vaid had called it a “great success”.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police has softened its approach to dealing with local militants by trying to convince them to “join the mainstream” through different means. This came after a 20-year-old footballer, Majid Khan, who had joined LeT, surrendered. He was left free to resume normal life without any charges, with the police and the government saying they were committed to the rehabilitation of “misled” local boys.
“They are our own boys, and we must give them a chance. We have been making pleas to them through the media, and the chief minister has also appealed that they must come back and shun the violent path However, we will have no mercy for foreign militants,” Vaid had told ThePrint.
The copy was updated to reflect the fact that one soldier was killed and two were injured in the Kupwara gunbattle.