SRINAGAR: A senior commander of pro-Pakistan militant group Hizbul Mujahideen was killed and an army man injured in an overnight gunfight in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district in Jammu and Kashmir.
An army officer said acting on specific information about presence of militants, personnel of Army’s 9 Rashtria Rifles and J&K police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) launched a joint combing and search operation in village Bichroo in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district last evening.
He said as the security men were laying siege around the area to seal the exit points, militants hiding in the village opened fire on the search party.
“The fire was returned by the troops and in the ensuing gunfight a Hizbul commander Dawood Sheikh alias Chotu was killed and an army man injured,” the army officer said adding the injured soldier was evacuated to army’s base hospital in Srinagar, where he is undergoing treatment.
Police sources said Dawood’s associate managed to escape from the area during the course of gunfight.
20-year-old Dawood, according to a police officer, was a senior commander of Hizbul Mujahideen and was active from past three years.
“He was one of the most wanted militants in South Kashmir and was involved in many militancy related incidents. He was A+ category militant,” he said.
The police officer said slain militant was involved in killing of retired DySP, army man and a panchayat member.
Sources said Dawood was close aid of Hizb’s top commander in Valley and new poster boy of militancy, Burhan Wani. He had appeared in some pictures and videos released by Burhan.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people attended the funeral prayers of the slain militant at his native Qaimoh village in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district amidst chanting of pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Later, youth of the area clashed with the police and paramilitary personnel by pelting stones on them. The cops retaliated by resorting to baton charge and firing tear smoke shells. The clashes continued for some time.
Hizbul have lost four of its men in encounters with security forces in four days. On Thursday last, three HM militants were killed in a firefight in Tral area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.