In one of the most successful operations of the year, Azad Malik, a prime accused in the killing of Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari, was among the six Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists killed by security forces in a pre-dawn encounter on Friday in the Bijbehara area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Bukhari was shot dead by three motorcycle-borne gunmen in June outside his office on Srinagar’s Residency Road. Police had said that Bukhari was shot by terrorists on instructions from Pakistan as he was active in Track-2 diplomacy on the Kashmir issue.
Army’s spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, while announcing elimination of six terrorists, said that warlike stores of arms and ammunition have been recovered from the encounter spot.
Police said that the Operation was launched last night on a hideout in foothills of Waghama Sutkipora of Bijbehara. Six bodies of terrorists and six rifles have been recovered after the encounter.
The slain terrorists have been identified as Azad Malik, Unais Shafi, Shahid Bashir, Basit Ishtiyaq, Aqib Najar and Firdous Najar, all local residents of Kashmir.
Police said they had information that six to seven terrorists were hiding in the Seikpora village and when search and cordon operation began in early hours it turned into an encounter.
Mobile and internet services were suspended in the area to prevent spread of rumours.
A joint team of Army’s 3 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), CRPF and Special Operation Group of J-K Police was involved in the Operation in which the highest number of six terrorists were killed.
Meanwhile, Lt Gen AK Bhatt, GOC 15 Corps, said that the encounter was a “surgical operation and is a big achievement for security agencies” as there were no casualties of security forces or civilians in this operation.
On the reported issue of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists holding a meeting in Srinagar, the army Commander said “we are verifying the facts whether meeting really took place or not”.
These pictures of the meeting could be morphed or taken long before which has gone viral on social media.
“Whosoever will join violence will be dealt with same manner as what has happened today,” he warned.