Top Hizb commander among 2 killed in Anantnag gunfight

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Anantnag, Aug 29: Two Hizb ul Mujahideen militants, including senior commander Altaf Kachroo, were killed in a gunfight with the government forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Wednesday. Dozens of persons sustained injuries during clashes near encounter site.
The gunfight according to reports broke out around 5 am in Muniward area near Khanabal area of the district after forces launched a search operation.
An official said the militants hiding in a house opened fire on the forces, triggering a gunfight.
“In the ensuing gunfight that lasted for several hours, two militants were killed,” he said.
Authorities suspended the Internet service in the area soon after the gunfight began.
Reports said that clashes erupted as the gunfight broke out with youth. Forces used pellets and tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth. At least three dozen people were injured in the clashes while some of them were shifted to Srinagar hospital for advanced treatment. A youth, identified as Abid Rashid Bhat was hit by pellets in his face. He was hospitalised.
Authorities imposed restrictions to curb the movement of the people after the gunfight. Train service was also suspended on the Srinagar-Banihal route following the gunfight.
Police issued a detailed statement about the gunfight saying police and government forces jointly launched search operation Tuesday morning at Muniward area of Khanabal in district Islamabad.
A police spokesperson in a statement said that during the searches, militants fired on the search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter.
“In the ensuing encounter two militants were killed. The killed militants were identified as Altaf Ahmad Dar @Kachroo @ Moin of Hawoora Mishipora and Umar Rashid Wani of Khudwani Kulgam,” said police spokesperson in a statement.
“Altaf Ahmed Dar @ Kachroo @ Moin son of Late Ghulam Mohammad Dar resident of Hawoora, Mishipora District Kulgam was currently operating as a one of the most important militant Commander of proscribed militant outfit HM. He had a long history of criminal records since 2007,” he said.
“Considered as a long time surviving militant in the area, he was involved in series of militant crimes in the area. He was involved in several attacks on the security forces and killings of civilians and policemen in the area,” a police spokesperson said.
The spokesman in a statement said: “Several cases were registered against him in different police stations across the valley for his militant activities. Some of the prominent cases include rifle snatching from policemen at Yaripora BSNL Tower. FIR No 208/7 under section 307, RPC, 7/27, Arms Act; FIR No 226/2010 under section 20 ULA (P) Act; FIR No 239/2010 under section 307,RPC 7/27 Arms Act; FIR No 15/2010 under section 307, 392 RPC 7/25 Arms Act in PS Yaripora; FIR No 21/2011 under section 7/25 Arms Act P/S Zadibal Srinagar; FIR No 174/15 under section 307, 392 RPC , 7/25 Arms Act PS Kulgam etc.”
“Pertinently during the 2016 unrest he along with Yasin Itoo @Gaznavi played a major role in instigating people,” he added.
“Umar Rashid Wani son of Abdul Rashid Wani resident of Khudwani Kulgam became active since last year. He was involved in many civilian atrocities and attacks on security establishments. He was also involved in killing o policemen at Islamabad. Further, in Srinagar city Umar had carried an attack on CRPF and also escaped from the recent Batmaloo encounter site,” said police spokesperson.
The spokesman said that several cases were registered against him including 145/17 under section 302, 7/27 Arms Act of Police Station Islamabad in which two JKP cops were martyred and 173/18 under section 302, 307, 34 RPC, 7/27 Arms Act, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20 ULA of Police Station Batamaloo. Though this group was a part of HM module they had worked in close coordination with other militant outfits.
“Some arms and ammunition were also recovered from the site of the encounter,” he said.
A spokesperson said that police has registered a case in this regard and the investigation has been initiated in the instant matter.
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in the last rites of slain militants. A group of militants emerged during the funeral prayers of Hizb commander Altaf Ahmed Kachroo and fired couple of rounds in air amid pro-freedom slogans. (CNS)