Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: Three terrorists of Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in a dramatic encounter with Police and security forces at Watrigam, between Brakpora and Bulbul Nowgam, on outskirts of the district headquarters of Anantnag in South Kashmir late on Monday night.
Knowledgeable sources told STATE TIMES that men of Special Operations Group of Anantnag District Police, CRPF and troops of Rashtriya Rifles 19th battalion, probably lying in ambush, opened indiscriminate gunfire on a Maruti car that was on way towards Anantnag at 9.00 PM. All the three men in the car got killed. One AK-47 rifle, one SLR and one pistol were recovered from their possession. Two of them were later identified as Shaukat Ahmad Lohar alias Jibran of Kanipora Arwani and Mudassar Ahmad Hajam alias Sa’ad of Kokernag.
Director General of Police, Dr Shesh Paul Vaid flashed on Twitter that all the three were terrorists of LeT who got killed in a chance encounter with Police and security forces.
IGP Kashmir, Munir Khan, as well as DIG South Kashmir, Swayam Prakash Pani, claimed that the three armed terrorists died in a chance encounter with Police and security forces. They confirmed to this newspaper that the slain terrorists were travelling in a Maruti car when they got trapped in a chance encounter.
“As our men signalled the driver to halt, one of the terrorists from inside the car opened fire. It established that terrorists were travelling in the vehicle. In retaliation, all three of them got killed”, IGP Kashmir told STATE TIMES. He said Police or security forces were in general surveillance in that area and they did not have any information about the terrorists driving on the road. He confirmed that the SLR recovered from the car was one of the weapons looted or stolen away from Police but it was being ascertained whether it was one of the weapons looted when six Policemen, including SHO Achhabal Sub Inspector Feroz Ahmad Dar, were killed in a deadly ambush by terrorists near Thajiwara in June.
“Two are definitely local cadres of LeT. We are ascertaining the identity of the third slain terrorist. He can be a local or a Pakistani. It may become clear by tomorrow”, IGP said.
At least two Police officers posted in South Kashmir insisted that Shaukat Lohar and Mudassar Hajam were believed to be involved in the ambush in which militants had brutally shot dead six Policemen including SHO Feroz Dar. They said it was still being investigated if any of the three had any involvement in the July 10 terror strike that left 8 Amarnath pilgrims dead and 19 others injured. “As of now, we have no such evidence to suggest their involvement in the Botengo strike”, said an official.
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