Local militant killed in first encounter of 2020 in J&K

Local militant killed in first encounter of 2020 in J&K

From January to July last year over 135 militants were killed by security forces, while over 260 ultras were neutralised in 2018

Army soldiers near the site of an encounter, in which one militant was killed, in Kanipora on the outskirts of Srinagar, Friday, June 28, 2019. (PTI Photo)

In the first encounter between militants and security forces in 2020, a local militant was killed on Tuesday in Awantipora area of south Kashmir.

Police said the encounter took place at Chrswoo village in Awantipora, 26 km from Srinagar, in the early hours of Tuesday, following information about the presence of the militant there.

“As search operations were carried on in the area, the ambushed militants fired upon the security forces and in the retaliatory fire one of them was killed,” a police spokesperson said and identified the slain militant as Zahid Hassan, affiliated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit.

Police said Hassan had joined the militant ranks only a few days ago and refused to surrender when asked to lay down his arms. “One pistol, a magazine, six live RDX and a grenade have been recovered from his possession,” police added.

Since August 5 when the Center abrogated J&K’s special status under Article 370 till date, only 10 encounters were reported across Kashmir in which 20 militants were killed. From January to July last year over 135 militants were killed by security forces, while over 260 ultras were neutralised in 2018.

A senior police officer said less movement by militants’ post-August 5 was the major reason as to why the number of encounters has gone down. 

“Militants are staying low and they have restricted their movements also. The militants' movement we used to track before August 5 is not the same. Our inputs from the ground suggest that militants are not moving from one point to another, the way they used to prior to August 5,” he revealed.

“The trend of local youth joining militancy has come down compared to previous years. Besides the reports of infiltration of a huge number of militants is also not true. These two factors combined with a militant strategy to restrict their movement is the reason for the decline in encounters,” sources revealed.

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