Valley News Desk

Two top commanders among 5 militants killed in twin encounters at Kulgam

Slain identified as Hizb’s district commander Shakir Nazar, was active since 2018, another one as TRF commander Afaq Sikander

Srinagar, Nov 18 (KNO): Jammu and Kashmir police Thursday said that two top commanders were among five militants killed in two separate encounters at southern district of Kulgam on Wednesday.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar tweeted that “Top militant and HM’s district commander Shakir Nazar who was active since 2018 killed along with two other militants in Pombai, Kulgam.” Earlier, on Wednesday he had tweeted that one among two slain militants at Gopalpora gunfight was identified as TRF commander Afaq Sikander.

A police spokesman in a statement issued to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) on Thursday said that acting on specific inputs generated by Kulgam Police about the presence of militants in twin villages of Kulgam, two anti-militancy operations were carried out in which five militants were eliminated. “The slain militants include the militant commander of the TRF outfit namely Aafaq Sikander,” the spokesman said.

He said that at 5 pm, (on Wednesday) acting on specific information regarding the presence of militants in village Pombay area of Kulgam, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by Police and 9RR in the area. “Similarly, another cordon & search operation was launched by Police & 34RR in village Gopalpora,” the police statement said.

“During both the operations, ample opportunities were given to the trapped militants to surrender, however they started firing indiscriminately on the search teams which retaliated leading to encounters,” the statement said. “In the ensuing encounter at Gopalpora, two militants were killed and their bodies were recovered from the site of encounter. They have been identified as Aafaq Sikander Lone (District commander TRF) son of Mohammad Sikander Lone resident of Raykapran Shopian and Irfan Mushtaq Lone son of Mushtaq Ahmad Lone resident of Shedcheck Aawneera, Shopian. One AK-47 rifle and one pistol recovered.”

As per police records, slain Aafaq Sikendar was involved in many cases including in civilian atrocities and attacks on security forces. He was involved in killing of Police personnel Nissar Ahmad Wagay on 07/08/2021 at Pambay Crossing, killing of non-local labour Shankar Kumar Choudhary at Nehama Kulgam on 17/09/2021. “Besides, he was also involved in grenade attacks on security forces including attack on 18Bn CRPF at Nehama. He also carried out an attack on SHO Manzgam in which 04 police personnel got injured,” the statement said.

Similarly in the encounter at Pambay, three militants were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. “Two of them have been identified as Shakir Najar (Dy District Commander HM) resident of Ponipora Kulgam and Sumair Najar resident of Kanipora Shopian affiliated with outfit HM & TRF respectively. While as the identification and affiliation of the third killed militant is being ascertained. As per source third might be Aslam Dar District Commander of HM. However exact identification will be established after matching DNA samples. The killed militants were involved in various crime cases including civilian atrocities. Pertinently militant Shakir Najar was active since April 2018,” the statement said.

The statement said that incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition (two AK-47 rifles and one pistol) were recovered from both the sites of encounters. “All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation,” the statement said—(KNO)

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