’19 militants killed in 9 encounters this year so far’

Army sounded a high alert across Line of Control with army jawans patrolling in Nowgam sector after special forces had carried out "Surgical strike" to destroy 7 launch pads along the Line of Control where teams of terrorists had positioned themselves. Express photo by Shuaib masoodi 30.9.2016

Srinagar, March 23: Stating that 19 militants were killed in nine different encounters in Kashmir this year so far, Inspector General of Police Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar on Monday appealed the militants to surrender before or during the live gun battles.

“So far this year, nine encounters have taken place in Kashmir with most of them – eight—in the south Kashmir – while one in the north. In these nine encounters, 19 militants have been killed,” the IGP told reporters at a press conference.

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Among the slain, he said, nine were from Shopian district alone and two were top commanders.

The IGP Kashmir said that 18 youths joined the militant ranks this year out of which five were killed in various encounters and three arrested. “The rest are still active and police have been appealing their parents to bring them back to the mainstream,” he said.

“Some may return. Also, seven youth who had joined the militancy have been brought back with the help of their families,” he said. “The parents have increased their trust on the security forces.”

The IGP was flanked by General Officer Commanding, Victor Force, Major General Rasham Bali.

About the Shopian encounter in which four militants were killed, Kashmir Police Chief said that security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Manihal area of the district around midnight following information about presence of militants there. “We appealed to them to surrender and brought their families, including wife and a four-year-old child of a militant, to appeal to them to surrender. But they refused,” he said.

The youth, he said, not only join militancy “due to drugs” but get involved in other social evils and crimes. “Police will render all help to those youth who surrender their arms and leave militancy,” he said. “I appeal those who have taken up arms to surrender whether before an encounter or even during it. We will provide all possible help, you will be accepted and will not face any problem.”

The IGP Kashmir said that all slain four were categorised militants belonging to LeT Outfit. “Although they call themselves as Lashkar-e-Mustafa, they are listed as LeT militants in our records and all these names including TRF (The Resistance Front) are the offshoots of the LeT or Jaish-e-Mohammad,” he said, adding that three pistols and an AK rifle was recovered from the site of the encounter. He identified the slain four militants as Rayees Ahmad Bhat who was active since October last year, Amir Shafi Mir who was active since last month, Raqib Ahmad Malik, who was active since December last year and Aftab Ahmad Wani – active since November last year. “One army soldier was injured in the encounter and is undergoing treatment at a hospital here,” he added.