Four newly recruited LeT militants killed in Shopian encounter

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Two among them joined militant ranks last month, other two picked up arms in ensuing month; IGP Kashmir says slain were involved in attacks on non-local labourers, Hunt on to track their associate Aijaz of Pulwama

Srinagar, Apr 14: Four newly recruited militants affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in a gunfight at Badigam village of Zainapora hamlet in South Kashmir’s Shopian district, police said Thursday.

A police official told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) acting on specific information generated by Police regarding presence of militants in village Badigam a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Police and 44 RR in the said area.

“As the search party proceeded towards the suspected spot, hiding militants fired indiscriminately upon the search party which was retaliated leading to an encounter,” he said, adding that “in the ensuing encounter, four militants affiliated with LeT were killed.

He identified the slain militants as Showkeen Ahmad Thoker son of M. Abdullaah Thoker and Farooq Ahmed Bhat son of Ab. Salam Bhat both residents of Sugan Shopian and Aqib Ahmad Thoker son of Farooq Ahmad Thoker and Waseem Ahamd Thoker son of Ab.Gani Thoker both residents of Heffkhuri Shopian.

Heffkhuri and Sugan villages are just half kilometres apart and all four slain militants had joined militants ranks recently, he said.

Aqib and Farooq went missing on March 10 and March 17 respectively while Wasim went missing on April 09 and Showkeen joined militancy April 03 this year.

Badigam is the same village where 5 Hizb militants including, Prof Rafi of Ganderbal, Sadam Paddar, Bilal Molvi, Towseef Sheikh and Aadil Thokar were killed on 5 May 2018.

A police spokesman said that the IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar congratulated the joint forces for conducting successful anti-militancy operation without any collateral damage. “IGP said that hunt for their associates like Aijaz of Pulwama is on and they will be neutralised soon,” the spokesman said, adding that meanwhile, as the operation was in progress some miscreants shared misleading information on social media relating to the stone pelting/ injuries to some army personnel at Kanipora Shopian. “It is hereby clarified that the news shared is totally baseless, while the fact is that a vehicle of 44RR from Chowgam Camp carrying army personnel was on way to the encounter site at Badigam Shopian. The driver lost control over the vehicle due to some technical fault and it skidded off the road. In the mishap, four soldiers were injured who were shifted to District Hospital Shopian, where two among them succumbed to their injuries while as two other are being treated at 92 Base Army hospital Srinagar,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, IGP Kashmir in a tweet said: “LeT #militants neutralised in today’s #encounter were active in Shopian & adjacent areas of Pulwama. They were involved in 6 #terror crimes including attacks on outside labourers. Hunt for their associates like Aijaz of Pulwama is on & they will be neutralised soon.”—(KNO)

Representational pic