The officials said that a huge cache of arms, ammunition and
Srinanagar: Six militants were killed in two separate gun battles in Jammu and Kashmir’s southern Kulgam and frontier Rajouri districts on Friday. The officials said that a huge cache of arms, ammunition and "war-like" supplies was found on the slain militants gunned down in Kulgam.
According to officials, the firefight broke out at Samno, a remote village in Kulgam, after a joint team of the Army's 34 Rashtriya Rifles and the J&K police moved in to launch a cordon-and-search operation. When the presence of a heavily equipped group of militants in the hillside village was established, they were also joined by the Army's elite 9 Para Special Force and the Central Reserve Police Force’s 18th Battalion to take on the holed-up terrorists, the police sources said.
"We had learned that a group of terrorists is hiding in the area. As the joint team of the security forces zeroed in on the suspected spot, the hiding terrorists fired upon it. The fire was returned, triggering the encounter," a police spokesman said here.
A statement issued by the police here added, “As the night fell, the operation was due to the darkness kept on hold till early (Friday) morning. But the cordon remained intact throughout the night and, in fact, was strengthened further with the help of the reinforcement.”
The fighting resumed at the first light on Friday, the police said. A residential house where the militants had been holed up was razed during the fierce gunfight, the locals said.
The slain militants have been identified as "The Resistance Front" (TRF) cadres Yasir Bilal Bhat alias Humais, Danish Hameed Thoker, Ubaid Ahmad Padder, Sameer Farooq Sheikh and Hanzala Yaqoob Shah -- all local Kashmiris who had joined the outfit between August 3, 2021 and July 13, 2023, the officials said.
The J&K police claims the TRF is a shadow group of the proscribed Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT).
The police claimed that Sheikh and Thoker were involved in the attack on a Kashmiri Pandit Sonu Bhat at Chotigam in neighbouring Shopian. Thoker, along with Hanzala, had targeted a group of non-local labourers in Shopian’s Gagren village on July 13 this year, leaving three of them injured.
“Incriminating materials, arms and ammunition, including four AK-series rifles, an equal number of grenades and two pistols and other war-like stores were recovered from the site of encounter,” the Army and the J&K police said.
Reports from Rajouri said that one militant whose identity is being ascertained was killed in a brief gunfight with the security forces at Behrot in the Budhal area of the district on Friday afternoon.
As per the police statistics, about sixty militants were killed in the security forces’ operations in the J&K hinterland and another 30 along the Line of Control so far this year.
The Army says that over a dozen infiltration bids were made along the de facto border during the first ten months of the year, but all these were foiled by the security forces by engaging intruders in gun battles, which led to their elimination or forced them to return to the PoJK.