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Policeman turned LeT commander among two militants killed in Shopian encounter

Ishfaq was active since 2017, figured in the list of most wanted militants in Kashmir; Duo rejected repeated surrender offers: Police 

Srinagar, July 19, 2021 : A policeman-turned Lashkar-e-Toiba commander and his associate were killed in an encounter that at Check-e-Sadiq Khanarea of Southern district of Shopian, police said on Monday.

A police official told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that joint teams of Police, Army’s 34 RR and CRPF launched a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) on a specific information about the presence of militants in the Check Sadiq Khan area  on Tuesday evening.

The official said that as the joint teams of forces approached towards the suspected house, the hiding militants opened fire, which was retaliated, after which heavy exchange of gunfire took place. “The exchange of fire continued for few hours in which two militants were killed,” he said.

The two militants include a deserted cop Ishfaq who joined LeT in 2017 and was among most wanted militants in Kashmir.

Ishfaq was posted at the police training centre Kathua in Jammu from where he availed leave in October 2017 and didn’t report back on duty. However, his picture in which he was holding an AK-47 riffle went viral on social media. Another militant killed in the gunfight was identified as Majid Iqbal, father of two minors, and a driver by profession, who had joined militant ranks just two months ago.

Meanwhile, a police spokesman in a statement said that acting on a specific information generated by Shopian Police about presence of militants at village Check-e-Sidique Khan area of Shopian, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Police, 34RR and 178BN CRPF in the area late on Sunday evening.

“During the search operation, as the presence of militants got ascertained they were given repeated opportunities to surrender, however, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party which was retaliated leading to an encounter,” the police spokesman said. “In the ensuing encounter, two militants of LeT were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. They were identified as Ishfaq Ahmad Dar son of Abdul Rashid Dar, resident of Hafshirmal, Shopian, a top commander of LeT active since 2017 and Majid Iqbal Bhat son of Mohammad Iqbal Bhat resident of Melibagh Imamsahab, Shopian.”

As per police records, both the killed militants were part of groups involved in various cases and several cases were registered against them.  The police spokesman said that slain Ishfaq was active since 2017 and figured among the list of most wanted militants. “He was very instrumental in planning and executing attacks on security establishments, civilian killings and misleading youth by motivating them to join militant folds,” the spokesman said. “Incriminating materials, arms and ammunition including 2 AK-47 rifles and 08 Magazines were recovered from the site of encounter”— (KNO)

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