2 Hizbul militants killed in Kashmir’s Pulwama

Representative image. (Photo/Pixabay)

Two local militants, affiliated with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit, were killed in an overnight encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday.

The encounter began at Drabgam village in Pulwama, 32 km from here, on Monday evening after Army laid an ambush when militants came in TATA mobile, reports said. The Army challenged them leading to a brief shootout in which one militant was killed.

“One militant fled from the spot and took shelter in a house in an orchard. He was neutralised on Tuesday morning,” a police official told DH.
He identified the slain as Irfan Naira, a category 'A' militant, active since 2016 and Irfan Rather, active since 2017. Both were believed to be close associates of Hizbul operational chief Riyaz Naikoo.

He said the operation was going on as it is suspected that more militants were present in the area.

Since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 and subsequent restrictions and spontaneous shutdown in Kashmir, there has been a decrease in encounters between militants and security forces. While over 135 militants were killed in the first seven months this year, 18 ultras have been neutralised in nine encounters since August first week.

The source network of the Army and police had become almost defunct due to the snapping of mobile and internet services. A senior police officer involved in counter-insurgency operations told DH that communication blockade was one of the reasons for less number of militants being killed.

“In the absence of mobile services, the flow of information from our sources had almost dried up. Now since last month when the post-paid mobile services were restored, some inputs about the movement of militants have started to come and in the coming weeks, the frequency of encounter with militants will increase,” he revealed.

The officer said that another reason for the lesser number of militants being killed was the considerable drop in local recruitment into militancy this year. From January 2019 to October 15, only 39 local youth joined militancy out of which six later returned home and are living a normal life.

 "Social media and the internet played a vital role in luring local youth towards militancy in the last few years. Massive funerals and the gun salutes by the militants was also a major reason. All these measures have been curbed now due to which youth are not going towards militancy now,” he added.

However, sources said, while the local recruitment had gone down this year, dozens of battle-hardened Pakistani militants have infiltrated into Kashmir in the last three months. After the abrogation of Article 370, Pakistan reportedly reactivated launch pads and terror camps in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).

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