SRINAGAR: There has been an upsurge in encounters in Kashmir after an NIA court on May 25 handed down a life sentence to separatist leader Mohammad Yasin Malik in a terrorist financing case. Eight meetings have taken place between activists and security forces in the Valley in the five days since Malik’s sentencing.
Of the eight meetings, four were in South Kashmir, three in North Kashmir and one in Srinagar.
On Monday alone, two meetings took place in South Kashmir. In the first shooting, in Gundipora of Pulwama district, two local Jaish-e-Mohammad activists, Abid Hussain Shah and Saqib Azad Sofi, were shot dead by security forces.
Police said one of the activists killed, Abid, was involved in the killing of off-duty policeman Reyaz Ahmad on May 13. The second meeting of the day took place in Rajpora, in the same district. The shooting was in progress when the latest reports poured in.
In clashes since Malik’s conviction, 14 militants, including six Pakistani nationals and eight locals, have been killed. In addition, a policeman and an army porter were killed during the two clashes in northern Kashmir.
Before the JKLF president’s sentencing, eight meetings had taken place in the valley in 24 days. In the eight clashes, nine militants and two civilians were killed. Five of these meetings took place in South Kashmir and three in North Kashmir.
Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar said on Monday that the police were working on a multidimensional front to prevent local youths from joining the ranks of militants.
Meanwhile, security forces shot and killed two Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants during an overnight encounter in Pulwama district, police said on Monday.
One of the terrorists killed was implicated in the murder of police officer Reyaz Ahmad earlier this month, a police spokesman said.
He said on a specific input generated by Kulgam Police regarding the presence of terrorists in Gundipora village of Pulwama, a joint cordon and search operation was initiated by the security forces.
“During the search operation, as the joint search team approached the suspected location, the terrorists who were hiding in the residential house of Nazir Ahmad Mir fired indiscriminately at the search team, which which provoked retaliation,” he said.
The spokesperson said that to avoid any collateral damage from the darkness, the operation was suspended overnight and resumed in the wee hours.
“In the ensuing encounter, two terrorists, identified as Abid Hussain Shah and Saqib Azad Sofi, were killed. They were affiliated with the banned JeM terrorist group,” he added.
According to police records, the spokesperson said the men killed were categorized as terrorists and were part of groups involved in several cases of terrorist crimes, including attacks on police and civilian atrocities.
“Relevantly, slain terrorist Abid Shah was involved in the recent murder of unarmed police officer, Constable Reyaz Ahmad at his residential house in Gadoora neighborhood in Pulwama on May 13, 2022,” he said. added.
Kashmir Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar has praised the forces for conducting the counter-terrorism operation in a professional manner without any collateral damage.
He also appreciated the joint team to track and neutralize the terrorists involved in the recent killing of police officers in Pulwama.
While interacting with the media, Kumar said the police had been largely successful in preventing young people from taking up arms and were working on multidimensional fronts to prevent local terrorist recruitment, those who motivate and attract young boys to the terrorism are being reserved under the Public Security Act (PSL).
“We also track new recruits through technical monitoring and bring them back,” the IGP said.
(With PTI inputs)