SRINAGAR: Three militants including a B.Tech student from Srinagar who was driven by pan-Islamic ideology were killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, S P Pani told New Indian Express that security forces launched a combing and search operation in Hakura area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district last night after receiving information about presence of militants there.
He said militants hiding in the area fired on the search party. “The fire was returned by the troops and in the ensuing gunfight, three militants were killed”.
The IGP identified two of the slain militants as Eesa Fazli of Srinagar and Syed Owais of Kokernag.
He said identity of the third militant is being ascertained.
He said Fazili, who was a BTech student and had joined militancy in August last year, and Owais were affiliated with Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen.
Police said arms and ammunition including AK 47 rifles, pistols, hand-grenades, were recovered from the encounter site.
Asked whether Fazili and Owais were associated with ISIS or Zakir Musa-led Al-Qaeda affiliate, IGP said, “We are ascertaining such reports”.
Fazili, who was driven by pan-Islamic ideology, had joined B Tech (IT) course in Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU) in Rajouri in 2014 had joined the militancy last year and pledged his support to “Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind” headed by Zakir Musa.
Owais, who was also a BTech student, had joined course in Electronics and Communication from BGSBU in November 2017.
Thousands of people attended the funeral prayers of Fazili at his native place in Soura area of Srinagar. The funeral prayers were led by his father Noor-un-Naeem Fazili. The black ISIS flags were waved by some youth during his funeral procession.
People in large numbers also attended the funeral prayers of Owais at his native place at Guhnoo, Kokernag area of Anantnag district. His funeral prayers were led by his father, Syed Mohammad Shafi, a retired zonal education officer.
The Militant group Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen spokesman Ameer Sheikh Jameel-ur-Rehman in a statement said two of the slain militants Fazili and Sabzar Ahmad Sofi killed in the encounter belonged to the outfit while Owais belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen.
Police had launched a massive manhunt for Fazili for his involvement in killing a policeman guarding residence of separatist leader Fazal Haq Qureshi in Soura area of Srinagar last month. He had also snatched rifle of the deceased policeman.
After the incident, ISIS through its propaganda channel had claimed responsibility of the attack and also displayed picture of the rifle snatched from policeman killed in the attack.
After killing of three militants in the overnight encounter, authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar and south Kashmir, closed educational institutions in the Valley and postponed all the exams.
Police also placed Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other separatist leaders under house arrest while JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik alongwith his close aide Noor Mohammad Kalwal were arrested by police.
Some parts of Srinagar and south Kashmir observed spontaneous shutdown against the militant killings.