Five Hizbul militants killed in Kashmir’s Kulgam

Four militants, including a Ph. D scholar, are believed to have been killed in an ongoing encounter with security forces in Kellam area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Sunday.  PTI file photo

Five local militants of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, including a scholar, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Kellam area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Sunday.
 
The gunbattle broke out after the militants opened fire on a search party of army and police in Kellam village, 65 km from here. The security forces had launched a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) in the area after specific inputs about the presence of a group of ultras.
 
A defence spokesperson while confirming the killing of militants said the operation is over. The slain militants were identified as Waseem Rather, Zahid Parray, Idhrees Bhat, Aaqib Nazir and Parvaiz Bhat, all locals, affiliated with Hizbul outfit.
 
Waseem, according to reports, had done his M. Phil and had applied for Ph. D before joining militancy on May 18 last year.
 
Earlier, intense clashes erupted after the youth took to streets and pelted the forces with stones to disrupt the anti-militant operation. Local media reported that at least ten people were injured as security forces fired shotgun metal pellets on protesters to disperse them.
 
Following the routine, authorities suspended the mobile Internet service in Kulgam districts soon after the gunfight broke out.
 
Like last year, this year too security forces have been carrying out anti-militancy operations relentlessly and nearly 20 ultras were killed in January. In 2018, over 250 militants were killed in Kashmir which was the highest in a decade while 217 ultras were killed in 2017.
 
Last year as many as 191 local youths reportedly joined various militant outfits in Kashmir which was 65 more than 2017. The new recruits mostly hailed from the restive south Kashmir region.
 
However, the Army maintains that recruitment of local youth into militancy has seen a decline in Kashmir during the recent months.

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Five Hizbul militants killed in Kashmir’s Kulgam

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