Top six militants killed in Bijbehara encounter
 | KNO

Lt General A K Bhat calls encounter as ‘surgical operation’

Top six militants killed in Bijbehara encounter
 | KNO

Kashmir News Observer (KNO)

Srinagar, November 23 (KNO) : Six militants were killed in an encounter in Bijbehara area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district while as thousands attended the funeral prayers of the slain militants who were laid to rest in their respective native villages.Police said that based on a credible input about the presence of militants, a cordon and search operation was launched jointly by Police and security forces at the onset of dawn today inside a forest area of Sekipora at Bijbehara in District Anantnag. “As the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight,” police said, adding that in the process, six militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. Police as per KNO correspondent said that no collateral damage took place in this incident. They farther appealed people not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. “People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any,” police said. Police later identified the slain militants as Azad Ahmad Malik of Arwani Bijbehara, Unais Shafi of Takiya Maqbool Shah Bijbehara, Basit Ishtiyaq of Pushwara Anantnag, Atif Najar of Waghama Bijbehara, Firdous Ahmad of Muchpuna Pulwama and Shahid Bashir of Kawni Awantipora. It was a combined group of HM and LeT as Unais Shafi and Basit  Ishtiyaq as per police records were with HM and Unais was the district commander of Anantnag district, while the others were with LeT outfit. All the killed six militants were wanted by the law for their complicity in a series of terror crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities, police said, adding that as per police records Unais Shafi and Basit Ishtiyaq were involved in several grenade lobbing and firing incidents. “Firdous Ahmad known as district commander of Pulwama for LeT had a long history of terror crime records including cases and the prominent among them include FIR No 16/2018, FIR No 131/2018, FIR No 139/2018, FIR No 284/2018 registered at PS Pulwama and FIR No 37/2018 at PS Rajpora,” police said. “Similarly, Shahid was also involved in terror related crimes as well,” police added. Pertinently, Azad Ahmad Malik @Azad Dada who was District commander of LeT Anantnag had escaped from an encounter site at Khudwani Kulgam in April 2018 along with one more associate. Azad was a close associate of absconding accused Naveed Jatt. Azad Dada among several other offences had also figured in the case FIR No: 51/2018 PS Kothi Bagh pertaining to the assassination of journalist Shujaat Bukhari and his security personnel. In the aforementioned case which is under investigation, a hue and cry notice was issued against the said individual along with three others on the basis of material evidence collected. Huge quantity of arms & ammunition including 4 AK 47 rifles and one Insas rifle were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and probe their complicity in other terror cases. Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers of the slain militants who were killed in the gunfight today. People in large number were seen raising slogans in favor of freedom and against India. Several rounds of funerals were offered for the slain militants killed in today’s encounter. Meanwhile, General Officer Commanding 15 Corps Lt General A K Bhat termed the Bijbehara encounter as a “surgical operation”. Saying that the operation was “prompt and precise”, Bhat said, “It was a successful operation and forces didn’t suffer any damage in the operation”.(KNO)