Shopian encounter: Security forces engaged in gunfight with terrorist

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Srinagar, Mar 15 (PTI) Fresh firing erupted on Monday between militants and security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir where a top commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit was among two ultras killed in the operation that entered its third day, police said. 'Fresh contact has been established with the third terrorist at Rawalpora in Shopian,' a police officer said.

Earlier in the day, Inspector General of Police Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar said the security forces achieved a major breakthrough by eliminating a top commander of Jaish who was operating under the nom de guerre of Sajad Afghan. Vilayat Hussain Lone alias Sajjad Afghani, one of the most wanted militants in kashmir, was killed in fresh exchange of firing with security forces on Monday. One militant identified as Jahangir Ahmad Wani of Lashkar-e-Toiba was killed in the firefight on Sunday.

Kumar congratulated the security forces for eliminating Afghani.

According to police records, Afghani was active since September 2018 and part of a group involved in executing a series of attacks on security forces and civilians.

He was also involved in attacks on security establishments and brutal killings of civilians branding them as police or security forces informers.

'Several terror crime cases were registered against him including a case pertaining to terrorising the people so as to keep them away from panchayat polls including blazing a panchayat ghar at Kanji-ullar,' a police spokesperson said. He said Afghani was also involved in the case pertaining to barging into the houses of police personnel, abducting and killing constable Nisar Ahmad, follower Firdous Ahmad and SPO Kulwant Singh.

The other cases he was involved in included killings of civilians Tanveer Ahmad Dar, Suhail Ahmad Ganai and SPO Khusboo Jan. Giving details of the operation, the spokesperson said security forces launched an operation on Saturday night based on a specific input generated by Shopian Police regarding presence of terrorists in Rawalpora village.

'During the search operation, as the presence of terrorists got ascertained they were given opportunity to surrender, however, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter,' the spokesperson said. Arms and ammunition including US-made M4 Carbine rifle and other incriminating material have been recovered from the site of encounter so far, the spokesperson said. 'During the encounter, three houses caught fire while a group of miscreants tried to disrupt the operation and created law and order problem near the encounter site during which some of them were injured,' he added. PTI MIJ RHL