Two Jaish militants killed in Kashmir’s Shopian

File photo.

Two local militants, affiliated with Pakistan based Jaishe-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit, were killed in a brief shootout with security forces in Gahind area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Saturday morning.
 
Police said the encounter erupted after a joint team of army's 34 Rashtriya Rifles and special operations group (SOG) of J&K police launched a cordon-and-search--operation (CASO) in an orchard at Gahind, 58 kms from here, over a tip-off at around 7:30 am.
 
“As the cordon was tightened, the militants fired at the forces, triggering a fierce gunfight in which four ultras were neutralised,” a police spokesperson said and identified the slain militants as Abid Wagay and Shahjahan Mir both residents of Shopian, affiliated with the banned Jaish outfit.
 
He claimed that the slain militants were involved in the killing of female special police officer (SPO) Khushboo Jan of Vehil, Shopian earlier this year. On March 16, Khushboo was fired at from a close range near her house around 2:40 p.m. 
 
The spokesman said that both the militants were also responsible for either killing or adduction of the several people across south Kashmir in last few months. “As per police records, Shahjahan was also involved in snatching of weapons and killing of four police personnel at Arhama Shopian near petrol pump last year in 2018,” he added.
 
Reports said as the news about the encounter spread in the area clashes between security forces and stone pelters erupted in Shopian town in which at least ten persons were injured. The authorities suspended Internet services in Shopian district, a common government practice, aimed to calm tensions and prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organized. 
 
Since February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in southern Pulwama district, 38 militants, including 20 from the Jaish, have been killed in 16 encounters across the valley. Since the beginning of this year, 65 militants and 57 security forces personnel – 43 CRPF personnel including those in the Pulwama attack, eight army men and six police personnel – have been killed. 13 civilians have also lost their lives in various militancy-related incidents.
 
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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