STATE TIMES NEWS
Srinagar: Police on Wednesday claimed to have killed three terrorists in an overnight encounter in the city’s Parimpora area but families of the slain youths said they had no connection with militancy and that two of them were students.
The families from south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Shopian districts also staged a protest outside the Police Control Room here and claimed that of those killed, one was a Class 11 student, one a university student and the other a carpenter.
Pistols, grenades, ammunition recovered from village along LoC in Poonch
Jammu: Security forces recovered arms, ammunition and explosive materials from a militant hideout in Dabbi village along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district on Wednesday, officials said.
The recoveries were made based on the disclosure of militant associates arrested on Sunday.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Army have recovered two pistols, 70 pistol rounds and two grenades kept in bushes along the LoC in Dabbi village of Balakote sector in Mendhar sub-division, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Poonch, Ramesh Kumar Angral said.
The arms and ammunition have been recovered on the disclosure of three Pakistan-linked militant associates arrested on Sunday, the SSP said.
He said during questioning of arrested militant associate Yaseen Khan, some vital clues on his confession were developed after which a team of police headed by Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Mendhar, Zaheer Jafri, along with the Army launched an operation in Dabbi and recovered a consignment of arms and ammunition kept in a polythene bag in the bushes.
“Two pistols, 70 bullets and two grenades have been recovered so far and more searches are going on,” Angral added.
He said militant outfits were trying to target religious places in Poonch but their nefarious designs have been foiled by the Army and police.
While one terrorist was killed in the early hours of Wednesday, two others were shot dead a few hours later, a police spokesman said.
The three unidentified terrorists were killed in the overnight encounter in the Parimpora area of the city. Terrorists had opened fire on security forces during a cordon and search operation on Tuesday evening, he said.
Cordon was strengthened and there was an exchange of fire between the two sides. Firing went on throughout the night intermittently, the spokesman said.
Police have yet not released the identity or age of the slain youths, but the protesting families claimed that the youths were their kin and had no connection with militants or militancy.
The slain youths were Athar Mushtaq and Aijaz Maqbool, both students, and Zubair Ahmad, a carpenter, said the families, but did not disclose how old they were.
“My brother left for university at 11 am yesterday (Tuesday) as he had to fill some form there. He called me at 3.01 pm to say that he might have to stay at the university. Today, we got a call that he has been killed. He was not a militant,” Maqbool’s sister told reporters.
Maqbool is the son of policeman who is posted in Ganderbal district, she said.
A relative of Mushtaq also made a similar claim and said he was just a teenager studying in Class 11.
Police officials did not respond to queries about the claims made by the families.
However, an army official said the slain youths were “hardcore terrorists” who used a lot of ammunition and grenades against the security forces during the encounter.
“We made several appeals to the youths to surrender. One of them was about to leave the building but his colleagues fired and hurled grenades at security forces and pulled him back yesterday. In the morning, we again made appeals to them to surrender but we realised that they were not going to surrender,” the official said.
“The quantity of ammunition they used makes it clear that they were planning to carry out a major terror strike in the area,” the army official added.
Late in the evening, a police spokesperson said that from the recoveries the identity of the slain terrorists has been established as Ajaz Maqbool Ganie, Ather Mushtaq both residents of Pulwama and Zubair Lone resident of Shopian.
“Some families from South Kashmir came to PCR and claimed them to be their wards. They have been sent to Ganderbal for further identification and participation in last rites in the presence of Magistrate”, a police handout added.
In this connection a case under relevant sections of law has been registered and investigation has been initiated.
It is pertinent to mention that a few terror incidents have occurred in this area recently and reportedly these terrorists have also came from South Kashmir to target convoy of security forces.
“Although the three killed terrorists in today’s encounter were not mentioned in our list of terrorists, yet two of them are hardcore associates of terrorists (OGWs). Pertinently, one of the two is relative of top HM commander Rayees Kachroo who was killed in 2017. Reportedly, third might have joined very recently. Generally parents don’t have idea about the activities of their wards. Several OGWs after committing terror crimes like grenade throwing & pistol shooting etc stay normally with their family. For instance, one student from Pulwama who was taking coaching in Srinagar was caught for lobbying a grenade with the help of CCTV’s footage. His parents were totally unaware about his terrorist activities”, the handout added.
Police is investigating the case and after thorough investigation will come to the conclusion soon on merits.
“It is pertinent to mention here that the trio killed in today’s encounter were given ample opportunity to surrender both yesterday evening and today morning but they didn’t surrender and instead fired and lobbed grenades on search party”.
“IGP Kashmir has requested the parents to keep close watch of their wards and keep strict vigil about their day to day activities to ensure that they may not indulge in any subversive or terrorist activities”, the handout stated.