Srinagar: Three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants, including a commander of the outfit, were killed in an encounter with security forces in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, police said.
Acting on specific information about the presence of militants in the Kawarigam Ranipora area of Anantnag, in south Kashmir, security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area, a police spokesman said.
During the search operation, as the presence of militants got ascertained, they were given repeated opportunities to surrender, he said.
However, the spokesman said, the militants fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which was retaliated, leading to an encounter.
In the ensuing gun battle, three militants of proscribed terror outfit LeT were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of the encounter, he said.
The militants were identified as Arif Hajam, resident of Sadoora, Basit Rashid Ganai, resident of Audsoo Telwani Achabal, and Suhail Mushtaq Bhat, resident of Karimabad in Pulwama.
According to police records, the killed militants were part of a group involved in several terror crime cases, including attacks on security forces and civilian atrocities, the spokesman said.
“As per police records, terrorist Arif Hajam was the district commander of the LeT for Anantnag district and was active since September 2018,” he said.
“He was also involved in the killing of on-leave Army personnel Havaldar Manzoor Beigh on June 6, 2019, attack during ‘Back to Village Programme’ in Hakura Anantnag wherein two civilians namely Syed Rafi Shah (Sarpanch) and Zahoor Ahmed Sheikh (junior Agriculture Officer) were (also) killed,” the spokesman said.
Hajam was also involved in the recruitment of youths from Anantnag, he added.
Rashid was also motivated by Hajam to join terrorist ranks and was active since April, according to police records.
Rashid was also a part of a group involved in several terror crime cases, including the May 29 killing of two civilians, Shahnawaz Ahmed Bhat and Sanjeed Ahmed Parray, both residents of Jablipora in Bijbehara, the spokesman said.
Incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, were recovered from the site of the encounter, he said, adding, all the recovered material has been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other terror crimes.
The spokesman said IGP Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, has congratulated the police and security forces for the big success and for conducting a successful operation in a professional manner without any collateral damage.