Kashmir: Militants killed in the Valley

Two militants were killed in two separate encounters with security forces in central and north Kashmir during the past one week. A cop and an Army personal too sustained injuries in the respective gunfights.

A militant identified as Lashkar-e-Toiba’s (LeT) commander, Muzaffar Iqbal Naiko alias Muz-e-Moulvi was killed in a brief gunfight with security forces in central Kashmir’s Muchwa-Budgam district (January 6). Naiko hailed from Batpora-Sopore in north Kashmir.A cop also sustained injury in the operation that was jointly conducted by Special Operations Group (SOG) of police and CRPF.

Following a tip-off about the presence of a militant hiding in Gulzarpora village of Muchwa, security forces launched an operation. Police claimed Naiko was one of the longest surviving militants and the most wanted guerrilla in the state, who had joined Al-Badr militant outfit last year. “After a series of attacks on mobile towers followed by killings of civilians in Sopore, he was disowned by the Lashkar,” police here on January 6 claimed.

According to the police, Naiko was involved in many militancy-related activities. He was involved in the killing of two sisters at Chinkipora-Sopore (January 31) in 2011 and a civilian, Shamas-ud-Din Peer at Chankhan-Sopore. In 2014, he was involved in the killing of another civilian, Abid Akbar Wani, at Krankshivan colony in Sopore and also in firing on a police party at Chankhan Sopore (January 7) in which a police officer of the rank of ASI, Kareem Ahmed, was killed and three other policemen injured.

Soon after Naiko’s body reached his native place, hundreds of people assembled to offer his funeral prayers amid heavy snowfall.Braving chill and rough weather, people participated in his funeral prayers and staged a protest demonstration. Clashes broke out in the area after the militant was laid to rest. Police fired tear-gas shells to disperse protesters, who hurled stones at the security forces. Mobile phone and internet services were briefly snapped in the area. A complete shutdown was observed in Sopore (January 7) to mourn Naiko’s killing. Shops and business establishments remained closed while public transport went off the roads. United Jihad Council (UJC) in a statement to local news agency, CNS (January 8), paid tributes to Naiko.

Another militant was killed and an Army personal injured in a brief encounter at Hajin-Sonawari in Bandipora district in north Kashmir (January 10).After receiving inputs about the presence of militants in Hajin, Army’s 13 RR and Special Operation Group (SOG) of police cordoned off the area andmilitants opened fire triggering a brief encounter. The slain militant was later identified as Lashkar-e-Toiba’s (LeT) Abu Shakur and the army personel as Pramod Kumar. Police said another militant managed to escape.         

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