SRINAGAR: Hours after the body of an abducted policeman was recovered, security forces on Sunday avenged his death by killing three militants involved in the cop’s abduction and murder, in a gunfight in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. A police official said that after the body of policeman Mohammad Saleem was recovered from an orchard in Qoimoh area of Kulgam district on Saturday, the police, CRPF and the Army launched a massive manhunt to track down the militants responsible for his killing.
During the investigation, police identified the militants involved in his abduction, torture and killing. “We launched an intelligence-based pinpoint operation and tracked three militants involved in the policeman’s killing in Redwani area of Khudwani in Kulgam district, a few kilometres from where the policeman was kidnapped, early in the morning today.
The security personnel laid a siege around the area and encircled some houses, where they had credible information that militants were hiding,” the official said. The security personnel evacuated people from houses in the area to prevent collateral damage. “Security men advanced towards the houses, and the hiding militants fired on them.
The fire was returned by the troops, and in the ensuing gunfight, three militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen were killed,” he said. Two houses were damaged in the gunfight. The deceased militants were identified as Muawiya (a Pakistani national), Suhail Ahmad Dar and Mudassar alias Rehaan, both locals. The police official said two AK-47 rifles and a carbine were recovered from the encounter site.
“A probe is on to ascertain the role of other co-conspirators in the constable’s killing. They will be identified soon and tracked down,” the official said. Saleem was abducted by militants from his house on Friday evening and his bullet-ridden body was recovered from an orchard on Sunday. Hizbul Mujahideen militants on Saturday evening released a video of the cop’s “confessional statement”, in which he claimed to have passed on information about a militant commander (Aadil Pathan) to security forces, leading to his killing. Saleem had been recently promoted as constable from Special Police Officer rank.