Pulwama: Five militants including a top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander and a soldier were killed in a 17-hourlong encounter at Hanjin village of Rajpora Hamlet in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday.
An official said on Thursday late night, a joint team of Police, army’s 44 RR and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation on specific information about the presence of militants in the area. He said that as the joint team of forces approached the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired upon them which retaliated triggering an encounter. After initial exchange of fire the operation was suspended till morning, however, cordon layers were strengthened to avert any chance of escaping of militants, he said.
He added that militants were repeatedly given an opportunity to surrender, however, they rejected the surrender offers and fired upon forces which was retaliated. The official said that in the ensuing encounter five militants including a district commander of LeT Nishaz Lone of Tral besides an army man of 44 RR identified as Hawaldar Kashi were killed. Inspector General of police Kashmir Zone Vijay Kumar termed the killing of Nishaz and his four associates as a “big success to forces.” Kumar said that among the slain was the district commander of LeT who was identified as Nishaz Lone alias Khitab and a foreign militant. “The operation and the killing of five LeT militants including a commander is a big success for the forces. I congratulate the forces for a smooth operation,” he said.
During the intervening night, acting on a specific input regarding presence of militants in Hanjin Rajpora area of Pulwama, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Police, 44RR and 182/183 BN CRPF in the said area.
A police spokesman in a statement said that during the search operation, the civilians were evacuated to safer places and as the presence of militants got ascertained they were given an opportunity to surrender, however they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter.
“Due to darkness the operation was suspended, however the cordon remained intact throughout the night. On Friday morning, repeated announcements were again made to hiding militants to surrender, but the militants fired on a joint search party and the fire was retaliated. In the initial exchange of fire two Army soldiers received gunshot injuries and were evacuated to hospital, however one among the injured succumbed,” the statement said. “During the ensuing encounter, five militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of the encounter. They have been identified as Nishaz Hussain Lone alias Khitab (district commander LeT) son of Manzoor Ahmed Lone, active since 2018 , resident of Nageenpora Tral, Danish Manzoor Shiekh son of Manzoor Ahmad resident of Sathergund Kakapora, Amir Wagay son of Ab Gani Wagay resident of Hanjan Payeen, Mehran Manzoor resident of Jamalatoo Srinagar and a foreign militant identified as Abu Rehan alias Tawheed resident of Pakistan. All the killed militants were linked with LeT.”
As per police records, all the killed militants were part of groups involved in many crime cases and civilian atrocities. “Arms, ammunition & other incriminating materials were recovered from the site of encounter including 01 SLR rifle bearing no. 16047232 recovered from Friday’s encounter site belonged to JKP (IRP 11 Bn) snatched by militants in the year 2016 from guard of TV tower Lower Munda, regarding which a Case vide FIR No. 135/16 stands registered at PS Duroo Anantnag. All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other crimes. IGP Kashmir congratulated Police and security forces for the big success and conducting successful operation in professional manner