Shopian, March 15, 2021: A top Jaish-e-Muhammad commander was killed in an encounter between security forces and militants in Rawalpora area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Monday.
Earlier, on Sunday, a militant was also killed at the same spot. With that, the total number of militants killed in the 45-hour long encounter reached to two. A senior police officer told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that two local militants were killed in a 45-hour long encounter.
He said that search operation in the area was launched on Friday and encounter started on Saturday evening which was suspended due to darkness and operation resumed on Sunday morning.
He further added on Sunday morning one militant namely Jahangir Ahmad Wani of Narpora, Shopian was killed and search operation remained intact in the area, however, no further contact was established with hiding militants. He further added that to avoid collateral damage operation was suspended again on Sunday evening but the cordon remained intact and searches resumed on Monday.
The official said that on Monday contact was again established with hiding militant and in the ensuing firefight top commander Vilayat Ahmed Lone alias Sajad Afghani was killed.
He added that they received inputs that there was a third militant hiding in the area but after extensive searches, none was found.
Sources in Rawalpora area said that several youth were injured during clashes and several houses were destroyed during the encounter.
Talking exclusively with KNO, the Inspector General of Police Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar said that the killing of top JeM commander Villayat Ahmed Lone alias Sajjad Afghani is a big relief for the parents and police as he has been mastermind of recruiting youth into militancy. “We delayed operation due to some reasons—first militants made five civilians as hostages, secondly, militants kept changing houses. Third our aim was to prevent collateral damage in which we got success,” the IGP Kumar said.
A police spokesman in statement said that the encounter resumed in the wee hours on Monday after remaining suspended for the night hours. “As the search operation was resumed, contact with the holed up militants was again established and during the ensuing encounter one more militant was killed and his body was retrieved from the site of encounter. He has been identified as top JeM commander Vilayat Ahmad Lone alias Sajad Afghani, resident of Shopian,” the police spokesman said.
As per police records, the slain militant was active since Septemer 2018 and was part of a group involved in executing a series of attacks on policemen, security forces and civilians. “He was also involved in attacks on security establishments and brutal killings of civilians branding them as police/SF informers,” the police statement said, adding that “several crime cases were registered against him and was wanted by law for his complicity in several terror crime cases including Case FIR No. 304/2018 PS Shopian pertaining to terrorising the people so as to keep them away from Panchayat polls including blazing a Panchayat Ghar at Kanji-ullar. Case FIR No. 307/2018 PS Shopian pertaining to barging into the houses of police personnel, abducting and killing of SgCt Nisar Ahmad, Foll. Firdous Ahmad and SPO Kulwant Singh. Case FIR No. 343/2018 PS Shopian regarding attack on 34RR camp at Matribugh. Case FIR No. 362/2018 PS Shopian regarding abduction and killing of civilian Suhail Ahmad Ganai. Case FIR No. 35/2019 PS Shopian regarding killing of SPO Khusboo Jan and Case FIR No. 45/2019 PS Shopian regarding abduction and killing of civilian Tanveer Ahmad Dar.”
The police spokesman said that IGP Kashmir and GoC Victor Force conducted aerial monitoring of the operation and law and order situations at the encounter site. “Both the officers have appreciated Police and security forces for the big success and conducting operation successfully without any collateral damage,” the police statement said, adding that “Incriminating materials including arms & ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe his complicity in other terror crimes.
The last rites of the slain militants shall be performed after conducting their medico-legal formalities and their nearest family members shall be allowed to participate in their last rites.
Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, internet services have been snapped in Shopian district