Top JeM commander among two militants killed in Shopian encounter: Slain militants involved in killing of woman SPO, others

Umer Shopian

Srinagar, April 13 : Two militants including a top Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) commander were killed in an encounter with government forces in Shopian district of south Kashmir on Saturday.

An army spokesman in a statement said that two militants have been killed at Gehand area. He said that both the bodies were recovered along with weapons and warlike stores.

A senior Police officer said that the slain militants are affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit.

The officer identified the slain as Shahijahan Mir alias Umar Khitab of Amshiporaand Abid Wagay of Rawalpora Shopian.

A police spokesman in a statement said that according to the police records, both the slain were affiliated with JeM outfit. They were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of attacks including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities.

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The slain militants were also involved in the killing of Special Police Officer (SPO) Khushboo Jan earlier this year, the police spokesperson said.

On March 16, Khushboo was fired at from a close range near her house around 2:40 p.m. She breathed her last on the way to the nearby hospital.

The spokesman said that both the militants were responsible for either killing or adduction of the following people across south Kashmir in last few months: civilians Firdous Ahmad of Batgund, Nissar Ahmad of Kapran, Huzaif Ashraf Kuttay resident of Manzgam, D.H Pora and Tanveer Ahmad of Bemnipora; policeman Balwant Singh of Batgund in 2018, and Saqib Mohi-ud-Din.

He said that both of them were also involved in arson and setting ablaze of Panchayat Ghars at Kanjiullar and Ramnagar.

According to the spokesman, both the slain militants – identified as Abid Wagay resident of Rawalpora Shopian and Shahjahan Mir resident of Amshepora Shopian – were affiliated with the banned Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) outfit.

The spokesman said that as per police records Shahjahan was also involved in the snatching of weapons and killing of four police personnel at Arhama Shopian near petrol pump last year in 2018.

“Several militant crime cases were registered against both of them for planning and executing militant attacks on security establishments and killing of civilians in the area,” the spokesman said.

The duo was killed during a brief exchange of fire with the forces at Gahand village of the district on Saturday morning.

A police official said that a joint team of army, CRPF and SOG men laid a siege around Gahand village and started a search operation at around 7: 30 am.

He said that militants hiding in an apple orchard opened fire on the forces and the fire was immediately returned which resulted in the killing of two militants.

The police said that incriminating materials including arms and ammunition was recovered from the gunfight site.

“All these materials have been taken in the case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other terror crime cases,” he said.

Following the killings, stone pelting clashes erupted near the gunfight site, reports said. Several youths were injured after government forces used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse the protesters near the gunfight site, they said.

Meanwhile, the bodies of the slain were laid to rest at their respective native villages amid pro-freedom slogans. (GNS)

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