Islamabad, Oct 16, (Asia Free Press):Top commander of The Resistance Front (TRF) Umar Mushtaq Khanday allegedly involved in the killing of two policemen in Srinagar in February has been killed in an encounter in Pampore area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said on Saturday.
The encounter raged in the wee hours today after Indian armed forces cordoned the area around midnight following a tip off about the presence of Umar and his aide Shahid Khursheed there. A stretch of the National highway connecting Pampore and Srinagar has been shut for traffic due to proximity with the encounter site.
As per police, so far two rebels have been killed in the ongoing operation, but the bodies are yet to be retrieved. A three-storeyed house where the rebels were holed up has been razed by the Armed forces using IED’s.
Umar Mushtaq Khanday, 19, a resident of Tulbagh area of Pampore town, joined TRF last year. He was was a student of class 11th at Govt. Higher Secondary School Samboora, Pampore.
This is the third encounter within less than 24 hours. Earlier on Friday afternoon an armed rebel from Srinagar was killed in a military operation in Wahibugh area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama.
The military operation started in Wahibugh area after a joint team of Police, Army’s 50 RR and CRPF launched a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) on specific information about the presence of rebels in the area.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) in a tweet by Kashmir Police Zone said that an armed rebel from Srinagar City, who was involved in recent civilian killings has been killed in the gunfight.
Kumar Friday said that the armed rebel has been identified as Shahid Bashir of Srinagar.
Another armed rebel was killed in a brief military operation on Friday evening, launched by armed forces against the rebels in Bemina area of Srinagar, officials have said.
IGP Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar said that an armed rebel who was involved in PSI Arshid’s killing, has been killed in the operation.
He identified the armed youth as Tanzeel from Habba Kadal Srinagar.
The four armed youth killed since Friday were all associated with TRF- an indigenous group which came to fore after India’s unilateral annulment of the semi-autonomous status of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. The police has held TRF responsible for all the recent killings.
The frequency of encounters has increased this week after India’s Ministry of Home Affairs roped in the top officers from IB, R&AW and NIA with experience and expertise in working in J&K to tackle the situation after the fresh killing spate of violence.
The fresh spree of violence began on Oct 5, when a Hindu chemist was shot dead in Srinagar city. Within 72 hours of the attack, five people were shot dead which include 3 Hindus and a Sikh lady.
Since then, at least thirteen local armed youth were killed in nine encounters with the Indian armed forces.
Another military operation launched by Indian army in Poonch district has entered sixth day on Saturday. The exchange of fire was reported at least thrice near Bhata Dhurian Village along Poonch highway which has been shut for traffic. The gunbattle has till now resulted in Fatalities of nine Indian troops including two officers.
According to official reports, the operation is still going on and elite para commandos have been rushed to the area where helicopters have also been pressed into service to locate the rebels.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police claimed to have has arrested around 1000 over ground workers, several among them were let go after questioning. Police has also prepared a list of alleged hardcore anti-national elements who are likely to be booked under UAPA or PSA.
NIA also carried out raids in more than 50 locations in Kashmir valley this week. Several youth have been booked under UAPA for alleged involvement in the recent incidents of violence. The security has been heightened across Kashmir valley.