In the first encounter in south Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, two local militants were killed in the Awantipora area of Pulwama district on Tuesday.
Reports said the gun battle erupted in Kawni village of Awantipora, 28 kms from here, after a joint team of army’s Rashtriya Rifles and J&K police launched a cordon-and-search-operation in the area following ‘specific’ inputs about the presence of militants in the area.
“As the searches were going on, the hiding militants opened fire on security forces. In the retaliatory fire two militants were killed,” reports added.
Police while confirming the killing of two militants in the encounter, tweeted: “One more terrorist has been killed. Identity and affiliation is being ascertained. #Arms & ammunition recovered. So far 02 terrorists have been killed in the encounter. #Search in progress. 2JmuKmrPolice (sic).”
The slain militants were identified as Ufaid Farooq Lone alias Abu Muslim, affiliated with the LeT and Abbass affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammed, both residents of Awantipora and wanted in a large number of militant activities.
According to the police, Lone was active in Awantipora, Reshipora and around Indian Air Force’s base in Malanpora. A college dropout, he went missing on July 4, 2018, and his photograph holding an AK-47 assault rifle went viral on social media.
Police had filed several cases against him for providing grenades to other militants under the arms act. Lone was also charged for threatening, intimidating, beating people in Padagampora into closing their businesses and transport facilities after Article 370 was scrapped in the state on August 5.
This was the first encounter in south Kashmir in the last more than two months. While two encounters were reported from north Kashmir’s Baramulla district in August and September in which two militants and a policeman were killed, two more recently infiltrated militants were slain in a separate encounter in Central Ganderbal district last week.
While nearly 135 militants were killed in the first seven months of this year by the security forces, anti-militancy operations have almost come to a standstill after mobile and internet services were snapped in Kashmir on August 5.
Security experts say due to the snapping of mobile phones, the source network of army and police has become defunct and information related to the movement of militants has almost dried up.