5 LeT terrorists killed in Kulgam encounter: Police

It was a clean operation, no collateral damage: IGP Birdi

Kulgam: Security Forces on Friday claimed to have caused a major dent to terrorism in South Kashmir by killing five Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorists in 24-hour long encounter at Samnoo village of Damhal Hanjipora in southern district of Kulgam.

While addressing a joint press conference at the Behibagh headquarters of army, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police South Kashmir range, Rayees Muhammad Bhat said that acting on a specific input, a cordon was laid on November 16 in village Samnoo. “Contact was established with the terrorists of Lashkar-e-Toiba who were hiding in some residential houses. In the encounter, five terrorists of LeT were neutralised. The recoveries in the operation include 4 Ak series rifles, two pistols, four grenades and other incriminating material.”

The DIG said that the operation was a big success for the security forces as the slain terrorists were involved in the killing of minorities and attacks on minority pickets. “The killing of five terrorists has caused a major dent to terrorism in South Kashmir,”

Speaking on the occasion, Commander 2 Sector RR Anirudh Cahudhan said that specific intelligence inputs were generated due to the collaborative teamwork of J&K police and army over a sustained period of time in Kulgam district where presence of five terrorists were reported in village Samnoo.

“A joint operation was launched on November 16. The terrorists opened fire on troops. Troops ensured the safety of the civilians in the vicinity, evacuating them to safety and carrying out a deliberate operation which lasted for over 24 hours. The operation has resulted in the neutralisation of five hard-core terrorists. A huge cache of warlike stores, which includes 4 Ak 47, 2 pistols and grenades have been found. The overground worker (OGW) has been identified and suitable legal actions are being initiated against them,” the army officer said.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vidhi Kumar Birdi while talking to reporters said that Samnoo encounter was a clean operation and there was zero collateral damage. “One security forces’ personnel sustained a very minor injury,” he said, adding that the slain belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit.

A police spokesman said that acting on a specific information regarding the presence of terrorists in village Samno, DH Pora area of district Kulgam, a joint cordon and search operation was launched on Thursday by Kulgam Police and Army (34 RR) in the area.

“During the search operation, as the joint search party approached towards the suspected spot, the hiding terrorists fired indiscriminately upon them, which was retaliated effectively leading to an encounter. Later on, CRPF (18BN) also joined the anti-terrorist operation. However, due to darkness the operation was kept on hold till early morning. The cordon remained intact throughout the night & with the help of additional reinforcement the cordoned area was further strengthened,” the spokesman said.

He said that with the first light today, the operation was resumed, which resulted in the elimination of five terrorists. “Their bodies have been retrieved from the site of encounter and have been identified as Yasir Bilal Bhat alias Humais son of Bilal Ahmad Bhat resident of KG RAINA Wanpoh, Danish Hameed Thoker son of Abdul Hameed, Ubaid Ahmad Padder son of Wali Mohd Padder, both residents of Chakoora Shopian, Sameer Farooq Sheikh son of Farooq Ahmad resident of Chak Cholend Shopian and Hanzal Yaqoob Shah alias Hanzilla son of Mohd Yaqoob Shah resident of Rawalpora Shopian. All the killed terrorists were linked with proscribed terror outfit LeT/TRF,” the spokesman.

The police spokesman said that as per the police records the killed terrorists were categorized terrorists and involved in several terror crime cases including attacks on Police/SFs and civilian atrocities. “They were also involved in a number of attacks on minority pickets. The killed terrorist Sameer Farooq and terrorist Danish Hameed were involved in an attack on a Kashmiri Pandith Sonu Bhat of Chotigam, Shopian. Terrorist Danish Hameed along with terrorist Hanzal Yaqoob Shah were also involved in a terror attack on outside labourers at Gagren, Shopian on 13/07/2023, in which 03 outside labourers got injured. Terrorist Sameer Farooq Sheikh was also involved in instigating & luring local youth to join terrorist ranks besides was involved in attack on minority picket at Heepora Batagund, Shopian,” he said.

He said that incriminating materials, arms and ammunition including 04 AK-series rifles, 04 grenades and two pistols were recovered from the site of the encounter. “All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation,” the spokesman said, adding that the people are requested to cooperate with Police till the area at encounter site is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials. (KNO)


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