SRINAGAR: After the February 14 suicide bombing on a CRPF bus killed 40 paramilitary personnel, security forces have gone after the Jaish-e-Mohammad militants in militancy-hit Kashmir and killed nine militants of the outfit in three encounters in 10 days.
On Sunday, three Jaish-e-Mohammad militants - a local Raqib Ahmad Sheikh R/o Kulgam and two Pakistani nationals Waleed and Numan - were killed in an encounter with security forces at Turigiam area of south Kashmir's Kulgam district.
A young police officer (Deputy Superintendent) Aman Thakur and an army man Naib Subedar Sombir Singh were also killed and four army men including a Major injured in the day-long gunfight.
It was the third encounter in Valley after February 14 suicide attack carried out on CRPF bus by a local Jaish militant Aadil Ahmad Dar.
In the three encounters (one each in Pulwama and Kulgam in south Kashmir and another in Sopore area of north Kashmir) in 10 days after the suicide attack, nine Jaish militants have been killed. Of the nine militants killed, two were locals and seven other Pakistani nationals.
The men behind the February 14 attack including Kamran and Gazi Rashid, who were both Pakistani nationals, were killed in February 18 encounter in Pinglana, Pulwama. Kamran was operation chief of Jaish in Valley while Gazi was also top commander of the outfit.
The security forces have also lost seven men including DySP and Major in these encounters. A DIG of police, Army Brigadier, Colonel and about 10 army men have also been injured and undergoing treatment. The DIG of police Amit Kumar has been evacuated to Delhi for specialised treatment.
A security official said after February 14 suicide bombing left 40 CRPF men dead in one of deadliest militant attacks in three decades of militancy in the State, security agencies decided to target the militants and modules of Jaish.
"We are focussing on the overground workers (OGW) network of Jaish. Our efforts are yielding results as we have killed 9 Jaish militants in last 10 days in Valley," he said.
The official said they are targeting both the local and foreign militants of Jaish. "The intelligence grid on the ground has been strengthened to prevent Jaish militants from staging any attack especially the fidayeen attacks on security forces".Jaish militants had come on front stage in late 2017 after the militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen were on receiving end of security forces "Operation All Out" and suffered heavy casualties.
DIG of police south Kashmir Atul Goel that this newspaper that since Jaish is one of the militant organisations active in Valley, security forces are going after it.
He, however, said security forces are going after militants of all outfits.
"We are going after all militants. We will not be sparing any militant outfit," he said.
The DIG said intelligence-based operations are launched and whenever security forces receive specific information about militants' presence in a particular area, operations are launched to track down the militants.