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A look at terrorists being gunned down by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir as search ops continue

·5 min read

Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Umar Mushtaq Khandey is trapped in an encounter with security forces in the Pampore area of Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, a senior police official said on Saturday.

Khandey is among the top terrorists whom the security forces are targeting since a hitlist was released by police in August this year.

Currently, a massive search operation in the forest areas of Jammu and Kashmir's twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri to track down terrorists involved in the killing of seven army soldiers entered its sixth day on Saturday, officials said.

Meanwhile, in another operation conducted by the Srinagar police in Bemina on Friday night, two terrorists, Shahid Bashir Sheikh and Tanzil Ahmad, were neutralised by the forces. The two were involved in the recent killings of civilians in the Valley, including those of two teachers and a local businessman.

"Terrorists Shahid and Tanzil of Srinagar city who were collaborators in recent civilian killings of one chemist (Bindroo) and 2 teachers (Supinder Kaur and Deepak Chand) in Srinagar, neutralised today in 2 anti-terrorists ops," stated IGP Kashmir.

However, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Rajouri-Poonch range, Vivek Gupta had said that the terrorists involved in the attack on security forces in Poonch had been present in the area for the last two to three months.

Rajouri and Poonch in the Jammu region have witnessed a rise in infiltration attempts since June this year, resulting in the killing of nine terrorists in separate encounters.

Earlier on 11 October, five army personnel, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), were killed when terrorists attacked a search party in Poonch's Surankote forest.

There was an exchange of fire between the army search parties and the fleeing terrorists in the adjoining Thanamandi forest in Rajouri the same day.

The officials said that the entire forest area from Mendhar to Thanamandi remains under a strict cordon and a massive search operation is on to neutralise the terrorists who are moving from one place to another in an attempt to escape the dragnet.

So who are these terrorists being hunted by the police?

Umar Mushtaq Khandey

Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Umar Mushtaq Khandey is among the top terrorists whom the security forces are targeting since a hit list was released by police in August this year. He was recently named among the top 10 terrorists in Kashmir.

He was allegedly involved in the killing of two policemen at Baghat in Srinagar district earlier this year, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said in a tweet.

Terrorists behind killing of businessman Bindroo

Two terrorists involved in the recent civilian killings in Jammu and Kashmir were gunned down in encounters with security forces on Friday, the police said.

The two were involved in the killings of chemist Makhan Lal Bindroo and teachers Supinder Kaul and Deepak Chand, as per the police.

Security agencies had identified the terrorists they believed were behind the civilian killings in the city last week, and the attackers included their 25-year-old kingpin Basit Ahmed Dar, a resident of Kulgam in South Kashmir, officials said.

They said that Dar, who disappeared from his home in Redwani in Kulgam district in April, had been under the scanner earlier also as he worked with Abbas Sheikh, the self-styled chief of The Resistance Front (TRF), an organisation believed to be a shadow outfit of the banned Lashker-e-Taiba.

According to officials, Dar and three others €" including Mehran Shalla, a youth in his early 20s and a resident of Nawa Kadal in downtown city, and another young man Adil €" was part of a four-member terror squad that carried out the attacks on civilians in the city.

The officials said the group was involved in the killing of Kashmiri Pandit businessman Makhan Lal Bindroo, who owned a chain of medical shops known for genuine medicines, school principal Supinder Kaur and teacher Deepak Chand, both of whom taught in the same school located at Eidgah.

The officials said Basit has been moving around in the city and is accompanied by Mehran and others.

It is stated that Dar took over the TRF operations after the death of Abbas Sheikh, among the oldest face of terrorism in the valley.

A resident of Kulgam's Rampur village, Sheikh had joined the banned Hizbul Mujahideen terror group in mid-90s and kept returning to the terror fold after being arrested and released twice.

He was arrested for the first time in 2004 and released after a year. In 2007, he was arrested again and spent four years in jail. After his release, he was at home for three years, before going missing again in the spring of 2014.

He was gunned down in a swift operation by the army early this year.

Sheikh was behind the killing of jeweller Satpal Nischal, a non-Kashmiri, earlier this year leading the security forces to conclude that the same group could have been behind the killing of Virender Paswan, who earned her bread by selling ''golgappa'' and ''chat papdi'' in the valley.

LeT terrorist killed

As per Greater Kashmir, an encounter took place at Natipora area of Srinagar on Friday evening, killing a Lashker-e-Taiba terrorist. Meanwhile, another escaped even as vast area has been cordoned off.

Police identified the slain as Aqib Bashir Kumar son of Bashir Ahmad Kumar, a resident of Trenz village of Shopian district in southern Kashmir.

A police officer told India Today TV that terrorists fired upon the police party near Natipora. The police also retaliated.

Hindustan Times reported that Aquib was a resident of Shopian, who was affiliated with The Resistance Force (TRF), an offshoot of Pakistan terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. The other terrorist who managed to escape is said to have infiltrated from across the border, from Pakistan.

According to top Jammu and Kashmir police officials, three modules of six locals have been involved in the recent targeted killings of civilians, all of them led by terrorists from Pakistan.

With inputs from PTI

Also See: J&K: Massive search operation underway to find terrorists in Poonch and Rajouri, say officials

J&K encounter: Search operation continues in Poonch-Rajouri forest areas to track down terrorists

Five militants killed in Shopian in separate encounters in J&K; two cases of targeted killings solved, says police

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