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Five Militants Including Top Commander and Cop Killed in Separate Incidents in J&K

Anees Zargar |
Many in the security establishment have expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir especially since October last year after a spate of civilian killings triggered renewed fear of violence.
Jammu and Kashmir

Image for representational purpose. Credit: India TV News

Srinagar: A policeman and five militants including a top Jaish e Mohammad (JeM) commander were reportedly killed in a suspected militant attack and two separate encounters overnight in Kashmir valley, police officials said on Sunday.  

A cop on-leave identified as Ali Mohammad was shot dead by suspected militants in Hasanpora locality of Bijbehara area in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district Saturday evening. The policeman was fired upon indiscriminately outside his residence and died on the way to a local hospital, official sources said. 

This is the first such targeted killing of a policeman this year, but is being seen as a part of the continued efforts of the militant outfits to target police personnel since last year. In 2021, as many as 20 policemen were reported to have been killed in the region, a majority of them in similar targeted attacks. The attack comes more than a month after at least three policemen were killed and eleven others seriously injured in one of the deadliest militant attacks on J&K police personnel in the Zewan area in December. 

“I strongly condemn the brutal killing of our J&K Police HC Ali Mohammad in Anantnag district by terrorists. His supreme sacrifice won't go in vain. The perpetrators of this barbaric act will be punished soon. My deepest condolences to the family of martyr,” the office of Lt. Governor J&K tweeted.  

Two military operations were launched Saturday evening at central Kashmir’s Charar e Sharief area in Budgam and at the Naira village of Pulwama district against militants leading to the killing of five of them including a local Zahid Wani of JeM, according to a J&K police statement.   

“The two operations have concluded with the killing of one terrorist in Budgam and four in Pulwama including two top JeM Commanders Zahid Wani and a foreign terrorist from Pakistan,” the police said. 

Amongst those killed in Naira was the son of the owner of a house where the encounter was carried out. IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar, however, said that during the operation, the owner’s son Inayat Ahmed, was asked to surrender but he along with militants opened fire at the security forces and got killed. “He was a hybrid militant,” the IGP said. The owner of the house will be booked under UAPA, according to Kumar.

In a joint presser with Kumar at Shopian’s Balapur, the General officer Commanding (GoC) of South Kashmir based Victor Force Lieutenant General Prashant Srivastava said that Zahid was an IED expert and JeM’s south Kashmir chief while terming his killing a “big success” for the forces. “He was the mastermind of IED attacks carried out in South Kashmir since 2017 and the main recruiter of local boys into militancy fold,” he said.

The security forces have increased counter-insurgency operations across and since January 1 with as many as 21 militants killed so far in 11 encounters. Last year nearly 170 militants were killed in the region while the forces say they are now more focused towards “neutralising” Jaish targets. Many in the security establishment have expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir especially since October last year after a spate of civilian killings triggered renewed fear of violence. Sources privy of the security situation believe that there is an uptick in violence and the coming summer is likely to bring no respite from it. 

The killing of Ali Mohammad outside his home was widely condemned by political leadership including former chief ministers of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. While condemning the cop’s killing, National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah said that the violence in any of its manifestations is always “unacceptable” and will yield nothing except further “death and destruction”. 

“The vicious cycle of death has caused much loss to human lives in J&K while devastating the socio-economic conditions of the people during the last over three decades. It is high time for such incidents to be stopped now. My heartfelt sympathies are with the bereaved family,” a statement from his party quoted him as saying. 

“Deepest condolences to his family & loved ones. People of J&K are victims of this senseless cycle of violence that keeps claiming innocent lives,” People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.

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