Top Al-Badr commander Zeenat-ul-Islam was among the two militants killed in an encounter with security forces in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Sunday.
"The two militants killed in the Katpora encounter have been identified as Zeenat-ul-Islam and Shakeel Ahmad Dar. Both were involved in several terror crimes," a police official said.
Islam, a category A++ militant, was a top commander who had switched over to Al-Badr from Hizbul Mujahideen in November last year following consensus between the two outfits to strengthen the Al-Badr, he said. The official said security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Katpora area of Yaripora in south Kashmir's Kulgam district Saturday evening after receiving specific information about the presence of militants there. He said as the forces were conducting the searches, the militants fired upon them.
As per policy, the militants were given an opportunity to surrender, but they continued to fire upon the forces, the official said.
The forces retaliated, ensuing an encounter in which two the militants were killed, he said.
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said both the killed militants were affiliated with Al-Badr and were wanted by the law for "their complicity in a series of terror crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities".
"Islam, according to police records had a long history of terror crime records since 2006 when he got affiliated with Al-Badr and was later arrested," he said.
After his release in 2016 he got affiliated to HM and recently joined the Al-Badr outfit in Shopian district. "Consequently, he became the chief of the said outfit. Several terror crime cases were registered against him. He was also involved in a weapon snatching case at Tukroo Shopian. Similarly, Shakeel Ahmad Dar was also involved in terror related crimes as well," the spokesman said.
He said incriminating material such as arms and ammunition was recovered from the site. A dozen persons were also injured in the clashes that erupted between groups of youth and security forces in Sugan village of Shopian amid multiple funeral prayers for Islam. Sugan is Islam's native village. Police said at least a dozen persons were injured in the forces' action. The injured were taken to nearby hospital, from where four of them were referred to SMHS hospital here.
Former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “Reports of aerial firing at Sugan Shopian to stop the crowd from participating in the funeral prayers of a local militant , are very unfortunate and disturbing . Such interference in the religious affairs is undesirable and may backfire leading to further anger and alienation.”