The operations saw back-to-back encounters taking place in various parts of Kashmir valley.

 

Srinagar: Following the targeted killing of civilians in the Kashmir valley, security forces have launched a massive manhunt to tighten the noose around the terrorists behind the killings. In the counter-insurgency operations that saw back-to-back encounters taking place in various parts of Kashmir valley, 13 terrorists have been neutralized so far.

Though the Army may have suffered initial casualties in ongoing encounters in Poonch and Rajouri forests where seven soldiers lost their lives so far, with no terrorists sighted in the dense foliage, security forces have had an upper hand in the anti-terror operations as a whole. Without suffering any casualties or any civilian loss, the security forces  have literally gone after the terrorists. The killing spree started soon after last civilian killings were reported in Srinagar on 7 October, when two teachers were killed in the Eidgah area. The very next day, i.e., on 8 October, one terrorist was killed in an encounter in Natipora of Srinagar. He was identified as Aqib Bashir of Shopian and was killed in Srinagar when he attacked the forces in the area. His accomplice however managed to escape from the spot.

Three days later, one terrorist was killed in an encounter in Verinag, Anantnag. Tariq Ahmed Dar, a TRF terrorist was killed in Bandipora on the same day. According to the police, Tariq was behind the killing of Mohammad Shafi in Shahgund, Bandipora in the same district. Shafi was a transporter and was killed on the same day when M.L. Bindroo and Virender Paswan were killed in Srinagar one after the other.

On 12 October, the security forces neutralised three TRF terrorists in Tulran, Shopian. They included Mukhtar Shah, who had killed a non local, Virender Paswan in Srinagar. According to the police, after carrying out the attack, Mukhtar had escaped to Shopian. He was however tracked down and killed in a gun battle. After this encounter, another encounter erupted in the same district in which two terrorists were killed. In two encounters, five terrorists were killed in a single day in Shopian.

On 13 October, the security forces met with major success when they traced and trapped Shameem Sofi, a top commander of a Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit in Tral. When Shameem declined a surrender offer, he was killed in the encounter that followed. Shameem, also known as Sham Sofi, according to police records, was a veteran in terrorist ranks and was active since 2004. He guided and hosted foreign terrorists that camped in his area of operation. Police claimed that Sham Sofi was involved in a number of terror attacks and civilian killings.

On 15 October, Shahid Bashir Malik was killed. Police said he was involved in a civilian killing in Batamaloo on 2 October in which a power department employee, Abdul Rashid Dar was killed brutally. Rashid had been stabbed after being fired upon at the main gate of his residence in S.D. Colony, Batamaloo on 2 October.

This was followed by yet another encounter in Bemina area of Srinagar in which TRF terrorist Tanzeel was killed. Police said he was behind the killing of police inspector Arshid Mir in Khanyar, Srinagar. Mir had been shot point blank when he was coming out of Gousia Hospital in Khanyar just opposite the police station of the area.

On Saturday, two more terrorists were killed in an operation in Pampore area of South Kashmir, They were identified by the police as Umar Mushtaq Khanday and Shahid Khursheed. Police said Umar was behind the killing of the two policemen in Baghat, Barzalla area of the city in February 2019. Back-to-back encounters have given a setback to the terror groups. Also, it has given breathing time to security agencies to redraw their strategies.