Top Hizb ‘Commander’ Among Three Terrorists Killed by Security Forces in J&K’s Ramban; Hostage Rescued
One of the dead terrorists included a top Hizbul Mujahideen "commander" who was wanted in connection with the assassination of a senior BJP leader and an RSS functionary.
(Deferred Image): CRPF jawans during an encounter with terrorists at Batote in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. (PTI)
Ramban/Jammu: A top Hizbul Mujahideen "commander", wanted in connection with the assassination of a senior BJP leader and an RSS functionary, was killed along with two other terrorists in a nine-hour operation in which a soldier lost his life in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, officials said.
The terrorists, identified as Osama and his associates Zahid and Farooq, were gunned down after they tried to escape from a house where they had barged in while being chased by security forces following a brief exchange of fire in Batote area along the Jammu-Kishtwar national highway early on Saturday morning, said the officers. A house-owner was also rescued after the encounter ended, they added.
Osama was the brain behind several sensational incidents, including the killings of senior BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar on November 1 last year and RSS functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO on April 9, officials said.
Osama was carrying a reward of several lakhs of rupees and was also wanted in three weapon-snatching incidents in Kishtwar town, which was declared terrorist-free over a decade ago.
Despite repeated attempts to make them surrender, the terrorists tried to escape from the house while firing indiscriminately on the forces and were killed in the encounter, they said.
"All the three terrorists were killed in the gunfight, while an Army soldier also achieved martyrdom," Jammu-based Army Public Relations Officer Lt Col Devender Anand said.
The deceased soldier was identified as Naik Rajinder Singh from Jaisalmer. Two policemen were injured in the gun battle, officials said, adding that a huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from the possession of the militant.
The success for security forces comes days after Jammu Inspector General of Police Mukesh Singh said that four cases of killings and weapon-snatching in Kishtwar have been solved with the arrest of three Hizbul Mujahideen activists.
While naming Osama and five other terrorists, Singh on September 23 had said the security forces are after them and they will be brought to book soon.
As the pressure on terrorists increased in Kishtwar, Osama and the other two terrorists tried to escape from the district and had reportedly spent the night at an abandoned temporary shelter on the highway before being confronted by security forces, the officials said.
"Today (Saturday) morning at about 7.30 am, two suspicious individuals tried to stop a civilian vehicle at the general area Batote on the highway. The driver was alert, did not stop the vehicle and rushed and informed the nearest Army post. The quick reaction team reacted promptly and contact was established with the suspicious individuals," said Anand said.
After a brief encounter at Dharmund village in Batote on Saturday morning, the fleeing terrorists went into a residential house with a few shops on the ground floor. It was immediately cordoned off by search parties that comprised of the Army, police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The encounter then restarted at around 1 pm, said officials.
The house owner, Vijay Kumar, was "trapped" while the rest of his family managed to come out and were subsequently evacuated, the officials said.
Kumar, who locals claimed was a BJP worker, was rescued after the encounter ended.
A police spokesperson earlier said they had information about the presence of five terrorists in the house based on the inputs provided by the rescued family.
"Repeated attempts were made to make the terrorists surrender but they tried to buy time so that they can make an attempt to flee the house by taking advantage of darkness later in the day," an official said. When the cordon was being tightened, the terrorists fired indiscriminately.
They later came out of the house while firing indiscriminately on the forces but were eliminated in the encounter.
The movement of traffic on the highway was stopped following the incident as a precautionary measure, they said, adding traffic movement will be restored as soon as possible once the area is sanitised.
(With inputs from agencies)
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