‘35-40 foreign, 17 local militants active in northern districts’
Srinagar, July 13: At least three Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants including two foreigners were Sunday killed in a day-long encounter in Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, a top police officer said. He also stated that they are putting their every effort to ensure that the local youth will not pick up arms.
Addressing a presser in Sopore, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), North Kashmir Range, Muhammad Suliaman Choudhary said that a major threat has been averted after three militants affiliated with LeT have been killed in Sopore gunfight.
“We can’t rule out the possibility of the attack. The arms and ammunition recovered from the slain militants also indicate that they were planning for something big. After their killing, a major threat has been averted,” he said as per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) Correspondent.
He added that they have witnessed the attacks in the past and are ready to face any kind of challenge.
He identified the two among the three slain militants as Usman Bhai and Saifullah, adding that the identification of the third militant was being ascertained. “Usman Bhai was involved in the recent attack in model town Sopore in which one CRPF man and a civilian were killed. The duo foreign militants were active here from the last two years,” he said.
Giving details about the encounter, the DIG North Kashmir range said that the Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) was launched in the area after receiving inputs about the presence of militants. “Soon after the search party reached near the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired upon them, which was retaliated and thus resulted in an encounter,” he said, adding that in the encounter that lasted for the entire day, three militants were killed.
Asked about the footfall of foreign militants in north Kashmir, the DIG north Kashmir said that as per their reports, 35-40 foreign militants are operating in northern districts, adding that some 16 or 17 local militants are also active. “There are fluctuating reports, but as per the reports available at present, nearly seven militants who are active in north Kashmir may have infiltrated in the last some months,” he added.
He also stated that four local militants here were active while three among them have been killed with the good support of people on the ground as they have rejected the narrative of these militants.
“Post abrogation of Article 370 last year, attempts are being made from across the Line of Control to create a narrative and put Kashmir on boil here. The militants who were active in Kashmir attacked fruit merchants, civilians and non-local labourers. But people have been quite cooperative and thus helped us to decrease the graph of militant recruitment,” he said.
“The youth who picked up arms since last year were either killed or arrested while many have been saved from joining the militant ranks,” he said, adding that “We are trying to ensure the youth will not join the militant ranks and people have been cooperating in this regard.”
The 5 sector commander of Army, Vivek Narang, who was accompanying the DIG north Kashmir, said that “many of the infiltration attempts have been foiled by the forces along LoC. At present, some 250-300 militants are ready on launch pads to infiltrate. But we are ready to foil their attempts.”
About the killing of BJP leader and his two other family members from Bandipora, DIG said that the details have been already shared by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir zone, adding that they are investigating each and every angle of killing.