In a major success, three Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) terrorists, including the longest surviving commander of the outfit Ashraf Molvi, were on Friday killed in an encounter with security forces near Pahalgam on a key route to the Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir.
Killing of these terrorists has come a day after detection of a Pakistani cross-border tunnel in Jammu for infiltration of terrorists to target Amarnath pilgrims.
IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said; “Successful operation on yatra route is a major success for us”.
Encounter with HM terrorists started in the morning at Srichand Top (Jungle area), East of Batkoot Pahalgam area of Anantnag. Police, Army and CRPF cordoned the sensitive area and launched search for terrorists.
Pahalgam is the base camp for the pilgrimage and has witnessed major terror attacks at pilgrims in the past.
The pilgrimage will begin after a gap of two years on 30 June and conclude on 11 August. As such, security forces were combing the south Kashmir areas to eliminate terrorists and make the pilgrimage trouble-free.
The police called today’s encounter a major success in stopping possible terror attacks on this route.
Based on specific inputs about the presence of terrorists in the Srichand Top forest area in Pahalgam, security forces launched a cordon and search operation there. The search operation turned into an encounter after the hiding terrorists fired at the security forces.
In retaliation, three terrorists were killed, police said.
IGP Kashmir, Vijay Kumar identified one of the slain terrorist as Ashraf Molvi — one of the oldest surviving terrorists of the outfit.
Security forces have launched a massive search operation on the Pahalgam and Baltal routes leading to the cave shrine. Intelligence agencies have already received inputs that terrorists might try to disrupt the pilgrimage.
There were inputs that about 200 trained terrorists were waiting in 29 launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) to infiltrate into India.