Four Pak militants, soldier killed in Handwara encounter
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
______SRINAGAR, Sep 3: Four militants, claimed to be the Pakistani cadres of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, as also a soldier, have got killed in the overnight operation of Police and security forces in Vilgam area of Handwara in northern Kashmir on Thursday.
Deputy Inspector General of Police for North Kashmir, Gareeb Das, told STATE TIMES that a group of four Pakistani militants of LeT was ambushed and wiped out by Police and security forces when it was on way to Socahlwari village in Hafruda forest area of Vilgam, Handwara. He said that the operation was launched by Army, CRPF and SOG Handwara after receiving specific information about the group’s movement to a hideout in Sochalwari village on Thursday evening.
DIG said that heavy exchange of gunfire took place between the militants and the security forces on the banks of a stream. One soldier of Special Force (9 Para), identified as Mohan Nath Goswami, was critically wounded. He was evacuated but later died at hospital. “During the search on Friday morning, troops spotted and seized bodies of four heavily armed militants, along with a quantity of arms and ammunition including four AK rifles”, DIG said. He asserted that it was a group of the LeT militants operating in Hafruda forest cover.
Defence sources said that Army used Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drone) to track the group’s movement. “It was completely wiped out with surgical precision even as we lost one of our para commandos and three more soldiers sustained injuries”, said an officer.
With Thursday’s operation, Police and security forces have neutralised as many as 10 militants in the last 9 days in northern Kashmir. On August 26, a group of four Pakistani militants of LeT was intercepted in Bijhama area of Uri. One militant died in the encounter but four militants managed to escape. They were continuously tracked till they fell in the Army trap in Hamam Markot area of Rafiabad. Three more of the group were killed in the second encounter and one more, who later identified himself as Sajad of Punjab, Pakistan, was captured alive.
Chief Judicial Magisterial of Sopore today remanded Sajad to Police custody till September 10.
On September 2, one local militant of Lashkar-e-Islam, identified as Riyaz Ahmad Mir, was killed in an encounter with Police and security forces at Ladoora in Rafiabad area.
In the third successive operation on September 3, Police and security forces claimed to have killed four Pakistani cadres of LeT, while losing one soldier.