Indian Army killed 13 terrorists in Kashmir in a single day on Sunday. In three counter-insurgency encounters that took place during the day in the Valley, security forces gunned down as many as 13 militants in the Anantnag and Shopian districts of Jammu & Kashmir. The major counter-terrorism offensive claimed the lives of three Army jawans and four civilians. The militants who were killed included those responsible for the brutal killing of Lieutenant Umar Fayaz. Meanwhile, authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar on Monday to maintain law and order in the wake of gunfights in the Kashmir Valley the previous day.
In some of the worst fighting between security forces and militants in recent years, the armed clashes took place in two places of the Shopian district and a third spot in the Anantnag district in southern Kashmir. The operations rendered a severe blow to terrorist groups in the Kashmir Valley. The offensive was launched in the two districts on Saturday night and continued until late Sunday afternoon. Of the 13 terrorists killed, 11 have been identified so far; all of them were locals, officials said.
Meanwhile, separatists on Sunday called for a two-day strike in Kashmir over the killings under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), a spokesman of the group said. He said that JRL, comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Mailk, had asked people in the Valley to suspend business and other activities and offer funeral prayers in absentia.
Speaking about counter-terrorism operations, Lieutenant General A K Bhatt, the corps commander of the Army's Srinagar-based 15 Corps, told news agencies: "Excellent synergy has developed between the police, Army, CRFP, and the troops on ground." He added that the security forces had been "looking for the terrorists who killed Lt Ummer Fayaz" and that "today (Sunday) we neutralised them". Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) S P Pani said this was an extremely wonderful work done by Jammu and Kashmir Police, along with the Army and CRPF. "We have tried to keep life smooth in other parts of the Valley but if any miscreant attempts to disrupt the peace, they will be dealt sternly," he said. Kashmir Police chief S P Vaid said that this was one of the biggest counter-offensives in recent times against terrorist groups operating in the Kashmir Valley.
Here are the top 10 developments in the Jammu and Kashmir encounters that killed 13 militants:
1) Forces kill 13 militants in Kashmir in major operation: Security forces gunned down 13 militants, including those responsible for the brutal killing of Lieutenant Umar Fayaz, in three counter-insurgency operations, which also claimed the lives of three Army jawans and four civilians in the Anantnag and Shopian districts of Jammu and Kashmir. The operations, which rendered a severe blow to terrorist groups in the Kashmir Valley, were launched on Saturday night and continued until late Sunday afternoon.
2) Eleven of the 13 militants killed were Kashmiris: Of the 13 who were gunned down, 11 have been identified so far and all of them are locals, according to officials. One of the 13 was killed in Dialgam of South Kashmir's Anantnag district, seven in Draggad, and five in the Kachdooru area of Shopian district. Additionally, one militant was arrested from Dialgam. Among those neutralised were Ishfaq Thokar, Ehtehmad Hussian and Aquib Iqbal who were responsible for many terrorist-related activities in the Shopian area.
3) Militants responsible for brutal killing of Lieutenant Umar Fayaz neutralised: Lt Gen A K Bhatt, the commander of the Army's Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said that two terrorists responsible for killing Lt Umar Fayaz when he was visiting his family on a holiday had been eliminated. Fayaz, posted in the Rajputana Rifles in Akhnoor, was abducted and killed by militants in May last year when he had gone to attend a family wedding, and his body was found the next day.
Jammu and Kashmir Police chief S P Vaid identified the killers of Lt Fayaz as Ahmad Malik and Rayees Thokar, both of whom were among the militants killed in Draggad.
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4) J&K police tried to persuade terrorists to surrender: Jammu and Kashmir Police chief S P Vaid said that at Dialgam, a senior superintendent of the police had made a special effort to persuade the terrorists to surrender. He even summoned the family members of the two terrorists in a bid to persuade them to give themselves up. "Instead of surrendering, one of the holed up terrorists opened fire and the security forces had no option but to kill him. The other one we caught alive. Operations are carried out most professionally by the security forces," added Vaid.
Encounter concluded. 2 more terrorist bodies recovered from Shopian encounter site. In all 13 terrorists neutralised, 3 soldiers martyred and 1 terrorist caught alive. It’s unfortunate that stone pelting around encounter site cost 4 civilian deaths: SP Vaid, DGP, J&K (File pic) pic.twitter.com/nmthqdCYWE— ANI (@ANI) April 1, 2018
5) Names of the Army martyrs: The Army personnel who lost their lives in the Anantnag and Shopian counter-terrorism encounters are Gunner Arvinder Kumar, Gunner Nilesh Singh, and Sepoy Hetram.
6) Restrictions imposed in Srinagar today: In the wake of the killing of the 13 militants, authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar on Monday to maintain law and order, police said. In the restricted areas of Srinagar, heavy contingents of the police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed.
Meanwhile, public transport, markets, and other businesses remained shut in the Valley. Further, all educational institutions were closed on Monday, while exams scheduled for the day have been postponed.
Train services between north Kashmir's Baramulla town and Bannihal town have also been suspended. Mobile internet services have remained suspended since Sunday in South Kashmir areas, while the speed of fixed-line broadband connections has also been brought down to prevent uploading of provocative posts and pictures.
7) Separatists call for two-day strike across Valley: Separatists called for a two-day strike in Kashmir over the killings of 13 militants and four civilians in three separate encounters in the Valley. Under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), the separatist called for a two-day strike from Sunday across Kashmir to protest the killings, a spokesman of the JRL said.
He said that the JRL, comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Mailk, has asked people to suspend business and other activities and offer funeral prayers in absentia across the Valley.
8) Hizbul and LeT operations severely hit: At a joint press conference of the Army, police, and CRPF, the Jammu and Kashmir Police chief said that this was one of the biggest counter-offensives in recent times against terrorist groups operating in the Kashmir Valley. The operations by security forces rendered a severe dent to militant groups such as the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Lashker-e-Taiba, officials said here.
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9) Mehbooba Mufti condoles deaths; Omar Abdullah questions her absence: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was in the national capital, expressed grief over the death of civilians during the security operations in the Anantnag and Shopian districts. She also sympathised with those injured during these operations. The chief minister also paid tributes to the three Army jawans who were killed during these operations.
National Conference working President Omar Abdullah, while condoling the death of civilians, questioned the chief minister's absence from the state. "So while all this was unfolding the Chief Minister didn't see (it) fit to cut short her Delhi trip. What was so important to have kept her there?" Omar tweeted.
So while all this was unfolding the Chief Minister didn’t see fit to cut short her Delhi trip. What was so important to have kept her there? https://t.co/TpI08NN3v0— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) April 1, 2018
10) Kachdooru saw the highest number of civilian deaths: Three Army personnel and as many civilians lost their lives in Kachdooru area, whereas another civilian who was the owner of the Draggad house where militants were hiding, was killed along with the terrorists. During the fighting, a large number of civilians poured out of their homes, leading to more trouble.
S P Vaid on Sunday said that two civilians were killed in the fighting. "One was the house owner in Draggad village where the terrorists were holed up and the other was injured in clashes in Kachdoora (Kachdooru)." Six other civilians sustained bullet injuries, out of which two later succumbed in the hospital.
Over 60 civilians were injured in clashes with the security forces as protesters resorted to stone pelting near the gunfight sites.
Watch: J&K police tried to talk a terrorist into surrendering before having to neutralise him
With agency inputs