2 IAF commandos, 2 LeT militants killed in encounter

Two Garud Commandos of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and two Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were killed in an encounter in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Hajin area of Bandipora district in the early hours of the day following information about presence of militants in the area. The militants opened fire on the security forces, triggering a gun battle. Two IAF Garud personnel, who were part of the operation for training and experience purpose, were injured in the exchange of fire with the militants. The injured personnel were evacuated to 92 Base Hospital here where they succumbed to injuries. They have been identified as Sergeant Milind Kishor and Corporal Nilesh Kumar.

Two militants have been killed in the encounter, an official said adding the slain ultras belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). They have been identified as Ali alias Abu Maaz, a Pakistani militant, and Nasrullah Mir, a local militant. Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid said these militants were involved in a number of terror attacks in which security forces personnel and civilians were killed. “It is a big success for security forces,” he said. A police official said two AK rifles, one pistol, one hand grenade 12 AK magazines and 75 rounds were recovered from the scene of the encounter.

General officer Commanding of the Chinar Corps of the Army Lt General JS Sandhu led the ranks in paying tribute to the slain IAF men. “Chinar Corps Commander and all ranks salute the supreme sacrifice of India Air Force Garud martyrs of Hajin operation,” he said. A wreath laying ceremony at Badamibagh Army headquarters was attended by senior officers from the Army, police and IAF.

In another incident, two J&K constables Shabir Ahmad Malik and Nazir Ahmed Najar were arrested for allegedly supplying ammunition to the Hizbul Mujahideen. The duo had allegedly supplied nearly 40 rounds of ammunition for the AK series of rifles to overground workers of the HuM in south and central Kashmir. They were arrested along with two others allegedly affiliated with the group.

Vaid complimented the police personnel responsible for busting the unholy nexus” between policemen and militants. “We have zero per cent tolerance for such acts and we will ensure stricter and a quick punishment for the guilty,” Vaid said. He added that “the internal in-house surveillance mechanism of the state police is strong and no such activity can escape the eyes of the law”.

Giving details, police said Adil Ahmad Negroo and Mudasir Ahmad Mir, associates of active militant Waseem Wagay of HuM were arrested at Ramnagri in Shopian in south Kashmir. Police recovered 20 rounds of AK ammunition from Negroo. During interrogation, the duo named constable Malik, posted at Ganderbal, from whom they had brought ammunition.

Malik was immediately picked up and subjected to intense questioning after which he named another constable, Najar, posted at district police lines of Shopian. Malik claimed that Najar supplied him with 40 live rounds of ammunition for sale to militants, police said.