Three Hizbul Militants shot dead

Three Hizbul Militants shot dead

"We have killed three dreaded ultras of Hizbul Mujahideen including most wanted divisional commander Saqib and district commander Riyaz Paswal after nearly six-hour-long gunbattle at Shatdhar-Nasarpora village of Keller,70 kms from here," SP, Shopian, Shahid Mehraj said.

He said the three were killed during the course of a joint search operation carried out by security forces in the village.

Acting on a tip off about the presence of the top militants, Shatdhar-Nasarpora village was cordoned off from all sides in the wee hours and the contact with the militants hiding in a house was established around 6.30 AM, the SP said.

He said the militants were asked to surrender after they were surrounded by the search parties but they opened fire and in the ensuing gunbattle which ended this afternoon, all the three militants hiding in the house were killed.

A huge cache of arms and ammunition including three rifles were recovered from them.

Describing the killing of Saqib and his close aide Paswal as a "major breakthrough", Mehraj said the duo was active for many years and wanted in a large number of militancy-related incidents.
The identity of the third slain militant was being ascertained.

The killing of the top militants comes just ahead of the scheduled visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the valley on October 28.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to inaugurate a 12-km railway line connecting Anantnag and Qazigund that will mark the completion of the rail project in the valley.