4 militants, 2 troopers killed
Guns roar in North
4 houses, cowshed destroyed
Rising Kashmir News
Srinagar, Jan 28: Top commanders of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad and two troopers are among six persons killed in three separate encounters in North Kashmir on Wednesday.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Sopore Bhim Sen Tooti told Rising Kashmir that on Tuesday afternoon, Sopore police, 179 CRPF and 52 Rashtriya Rifles personnel laid siege around Amargarh area in apple town of Sopore after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in a residential house.
“The troopers zeroed-in on the house of one Mohammad Akbar Ganaie son of Mohammad Ramzan and asked the militants to surrender. They, however, turned down the offer and fired from sophisticated weapons. The fire was returned, triggering an encounter,” he said.
The police officer said that the operation was suspended last night and resumed early Wednesday morning. “A top commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Abu Hamza and an army man was killed in the ensuing gunfight,” he said, adding, “Three army personnel were also injured and the house, where from militants were firing on troopers, was destroyed in the gunfight”.
Tooti said that Hamza was one of the most wanted militants and was active in twin districts of Kupwara and Baramulla. “He was involved in various attacks on troops and had been active in various parts of North Kashmir,” claimed the police officer.
The militant commander’s body was buried in the local graveyard, where hundreds of people attended his funeral prayers amidst pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Tariq Mir adds from Bandipora: Two militants and a trooper were killed in a gunfight at village Ayatmullah in this newly created district.
Police sources said that after receiving inputs, 57 RR, 54 RR, 10 Para and SOG personnel laid siege around the village on Wednesday morning. “After plugging off the possible escape routes, the troopers zeroed-in on a residential house of one Abdul Aziz Lone son of Abdul Samad Lone and asked the militants present inside to surrender. They, however, turned down the surrender offer and fired from assault rifles towards the troopers. The fire was returned and in the ensuing gunfight, which lasted for more than four hours, two Jaish militants and a trooper were killed,” they said.
The locals alleged that the troopers fired dozens of mortar shells and heavy weapons toward the house, where from militants were firing at them. “The three-storey house was completely damaged in the gunfight,” they said adding at least three adjoining houses also suffered partial damage. A cowshed was also damaged.
CO 57 RR Col Vadera identified the slain militants as Wasim Bilal alias Mujahid and Shakeel Ganja. “Wasim was divisional commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad while Shakeel was his body guard,” he said.
He said that an Army man Mohammad Amin Bhat was also killed in the encounter and two others injured. “Two AK rifles were recovered from the encounter site,” he said. Meanwhile, a police spokesman said that a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant was killed in an encounter with 21 RR and SOG personnel at village Baki Hakar, Handwara in border district of Kupwara. He identified the slain militant as Abu Abdul Rehman. A house belonging to Ghulam Rasool Kar was damaged during the shoot-out
Destruction and Arrests
The encounters left a trail of destruction.
In Handwara the structures surrounding the house of one Ghulam Hassan Kar where militants were holed up, were also gutted.
The residents alleged that troopers fired mortar shells towards the house during the gunfight. “Besides Kar’s house, the houses of Abdul Ahad Sheikh, A M Dar and Ramzan were also damaged,” they alleged.
Eight year old Abdul Majid, in whose house the militant was holed up said his elder brother, Mohammad Din was picked up by troops. Din was working as a peon in local school.
In Bandipora, the son of the house owner, whose three-storey house was completely damaged in the troopers action was detained by the troopers.
A local news gathering agency, KNS reported that two persons were arrested from Warpora, Sopore by troopers after the gunfight at Amargarh ended. “A lady had gone missing under mysterious circumstances from the same area,” the news agency reported.
3 Militants, 2 Troopers Killed
Varmul, Jan 28: Three militants and two troopers were killed while seven troopers sustained injuries in two separate gun-battles in north Kashmir, Police said on Wednesday.
A police official said a joint party of policemen and troopers cordoned of Hayatmullah village in Bandipora this morning and launched searches. “Militants present there opened fire on the search party and tried to break the cordon,” the official said, adding that in the initial round of firing a trooper of 57 Rashtriya Riffles was killed, while two of his colleagues sustained injuries.
The official said that reinforcements were rushed and all the escape routes were plugged. “Militants again opened fire which was retaliated, triggering a gun-battle,” he said, adding that in the ensuing gunfight two militants of Jaish-e-Muhammad, Waseem Bilal, the divisional commander of the outfit, and his associate, Shakeel, were killed.
LeT COMMANDER, TROOPER KILLED
A police official told Greater Kashmir that the gunfight which commenced on Tuesday at Amargah Sopur ended this morning with the killing of Lashkar-e-Toiba operational commander, Abu Hamza. A trooper, Sohan Kumar, of 52-Rashtriya Riffles was killed while three policemen also sustained injuries, the official added.
Locals alleged that troopers resorted to mortar shelling and destroyed the house of Ghulam Nabi Chopan where the militant was believed to be hiding.
After the encounter, hundreds of people including women and children took to the streets and staged a massive pro-freedom demonstration. The protesters were demanding the release of two youth who were picked up during the encounter. Hundreds of people attended the funeral prayers of the slain militant and he was laid to rest at martyrs’ graveyard amidst pro-freedom slogans.
WITH AZIM JAN IN BANDIPORA