Two Hizbul militants killed in Kashmir’s Kulgam

Two Hizbul militants killed in Kashmir’s Kulgam

Representative image.

Two militants of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Saturday.

The gunfight erupted during wee hours of Saturday after army’s 1-Rashtriya Rifles and Jammu and Kashmir police launched a cordon-and-search operation at Wanpora in Qaimoh area of Kulgam, 65 km from here, following an input about the presence of militants in the area, reports said.

An official said that as militants got trapped, security forces asked them to surrender. However, they opened fire, which was retaliated triggering an encounter, he said and added two militants were killed in the operation.

Inspector General Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar while confirming the killing of two militants in the encounter said the identities of the slain were yet to be ascertained.

However, sources said the slain militants were locals and affiliated with the Hizbul. As part of a new strategy, authorities are quietly burying the bodies of local militants at far away places without identifying them to avoid huge funerals amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the beginning of this year, 77 militants have been killed across Kashmir in dozens of encounters with security forces. In 2019, 154 militants were killed in gun battles across Kashmir in the first seven months. In the next five months, only 20 militants were neutralized by the security forces as anti-insurgency operations almost came to a halt as security and communication clampdown was imposed to prevent civilian protests in the wake of revocation of Article 370 on August 5.

Last week, J&K police chief Dilbagh Singh had said that less than 240 militants were active in Kashmir.

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