Three top Lashkar commanders killed in Sopore gunfight: Police

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Soldier sustains bullet injury; Slain identified as two locals, one foreigner; Three AK riffles, 3 magazines, other ammo recovered, say police officials

Sopore, Jun 21 : Three top Lashkar-e-Toiba commanders, including a foreigner were killed in an overnight gunfight in Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, police said Monday.

A police official told news agency, that acting on a tip off, joint teams of police, army and CRPF laid a siege at Gund-Brath village of Sopore. “As soon as the joint teams of forces zeroed in on the suspected house, the hiding militants fired indiscriminately triggering an encounter,” the official said. “Firing continued throughout the night intermittently and with the first light, three militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved as well.”

The official said that the slain trio were Lashkar commanders wanted for several cases, and were identified as Mudasir Pandith alias Muda of Dangerpora, Sopore, Asrar alias Abdullah from Pakistan, and Khurshid Ahmed Mir from Brath Kalan, Sopore. The official said that a solider was also injured in the encounter who was evacuated to base hospital where his condition is stated as stable.

Defence Spokesman in Srinagar Lieutenant Colonel Emron Musavi told KNO that the operation was launched based on police inputs. “Due retrain was exercised to avoid collateral damage. Three militants were killed and three AK’s and other war like stores recovered,” he said.

A police spokesman in a statement said that during the intervening night of 20/21 June, acting on a specific information generated by Sopore Police about presence of militant in Gund-Brath area of Sopore, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Sopore Police, CRPF and 22RR.

“During the search operation 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. In the initial exchange of fire, an army solider sustained injury,” the police spokesman said. “As per police records, all the killed militants were part of group involved in various crimes and several cases were registered against them including attack at Municipal office Sopore on March 29in which two Municipal Councillors and one police personnel were killed. They were also involved in attack on police party of Police Station Sopore on June 12 at Main Chowk Sopore in which two police personnel and two civilians were killed and two more police personnel and two civilians were injured.”

The police spokesman said that  Mudasir Pandit had a long history of crime cases including “attacks on Police/SFs and civilian atrocities.”  “Besides his involvement in above mentioned crimes, he was also involved in attack on Fruit Merchants at Dangerpora on September 06-2019 in which four civilians got injured. Moreover, he was also involved in killing of several ex-militants, Hurriyat activists, Sapanches/Panches in Sopore area. Khursheed Mir who was the part of this group was also involved in attack on CRPF at Lawaypora area of Srinagar on March 25-03, in which three CRPF personnel got killed,” the police spokesman said. “Foreign militant  Abdullah alias Asrar was active in North Kashmir since 2018 and remained the part of the group and several crime cases were also registered against him for his involvement in civilian atrocities and attacks on Police/ security forces.”

The police spokesman said that arms, ammunition and other incriminating materials were recovered from the site of encounter. “In this connection police has registered a case under relevant sections of law and investigation has been initiated. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared off of all the explosive materials, if any,” the police spokesman said adding that IGP Kashmir congratulated police and security forces for the major success and successful operation without any collateral damage

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