JeM Kashmir chief among three militants killed in J&K

Self-styled JeM Kashmir chief Qari Yasir among three militants killed in Kashmir

PTI file photo

Three militants, including Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) self-styled Kashmir chief Qari Yasir, were killed while three soldiers were injured in an encounter between security forces and ultras in Tral area of south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Saturday.

The encounter began at Hariparigam of Tral in Pulwama’s, 35 kms from here, on Saturday morning after Army's Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and special operations group (SOG) of J&K police launched a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) following "specific inputs" about the presence of militants in the area, reports said.

"As the searches were going on in the area, the hiding militants opened fire on security forces in which three soldiers were injured who were shifted to hospital immediately. In the retaliatory action, three militants were neutralized," a police official said.

One of the slain militants was identified as Qari Yasir, a Pakistani national, who police believes was preparing fidayeen (sucide) squad for the Jaish. Another slain militant is Burhan Sheikh, who police believes was being trained to be a fidayeen.

Police said Yasir was behind the killing of two members of the nomadic Gujjar community from a forest area in Pulwama district in August last year.

Reports said that protests erupted near the encounter site as youth threw stones on security forces prompting the forces to respond by firing tear gas shells.

On Thursday, the three-day-long searches for militants in nearby Khrew area of the same district had concluded in which Abu Saifullah alias Abu Qasim, an associate of Yasir, was killed  A special police officer (SPO) Shahbaz Ahmad and sepoy Rahul Rainswal of army’s 50 Rashtriya Rifles were also killed in the initial exchange of firing on Tuesday.

While security forces managed to kill Qasim on Wednesday who had escaped to nearby forests the other militant escaped.

In the first 25 days of this year, 12 militants have been killed across J&K in six different encounters. While 11 ultras were killed in twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama, the other one was eliminated in Doda district of Jammu region.

J&K police chief Dilbag Singh on Wednesday said the anti-militancy operations have intensified in Kashmir due to which there is a lot of movement in south Kashmir. “There have been more than 6 successful operations and the operations will continue. And we will continue to work even strongly for peace in Jammu and Kashmir,” he told reporters.