A terrorist was killed and two army soldiers were martyred in an encounter with security forces at Chermarg Zainapora area in South Kashmir’s Shopian district, officials said on Saturday.
Police said, based on a specific input regarding the presence of terrorist in village Chermarg, Zainapora area of Shopian, a joint cordon and search operation was launched by police, Army’s 1st RR and CRPF.
Police said during the operation, a cluster of houses were taken into cordon and the process of evacuating civilians was initiated. During the process, as the search party started searching house belonging to Gowhar Ahmad Bhat, the house-owner intentionally misled the search party and denied sheltering the terrorist in his house. While questioning the said person, a terrorist hiding in his house opened fire on the search party resulting in grievous injuries to two Army Jawans.
“The fire was retaliated effectively leading to an encounter. The injured Jawans were immediately evacuated to hospital for treatment however; both of them succumbed to their injuries and attained martyrdom,” police said.
Sepoy Santosh Yadav and Sepoy Romit Tanaji Chavan hailing from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra respectively, are the two jawans who made the supreme sacrifice while trying to save civilian lives. Sepoy Chavan Romit Tanaji (23) had joined the Army in 2017 and belonged to village Lokmanya Nagar of Thane district in Maharashtra and is survived by his mother. Sepoy Santosh Yadav (28) had joined the Army in 2015 and belonged to village Tadva of Rudrapura tehsil, Deoria district in Uttar Pradesh and is survived by his wife.
In the ensuing encounter, the hiding terrorist was killed and his body was retrieved from the site of encounter. He has been identified as Abdul Qayoom Dar, resident of Laroo Kakapora, Pulwama and linked with proscribed terror outfit LeT.
“As per police records, the killed terrorist had a history of terror crime cases as he was working as terrorist associate before joining terror ranks. It is pertinent to mention that his house was also being used as hideout for terrorists and in April-2020 an encounter took place in his house and subsequently he was booked under PSA,” police said.
“Post his release in August-2021, he continuously kept on working as an associate for active terrorists. Earlier this week, SSP Pulwama officially intimated that he had left house and joined terror folds of LeT outfit. Consequently he was listed as ‘C’ category terrorist.”
Incriminating materials, arms and ammunition including one AK-series rifle, one pistol were recovered from the site of encounter.
In other news, JeM terrorist Irfan Yousuf Dar of Pulwama, and LeT/TRF terrorist Junaid Mushtaq Bhat of Srinagar were arrested on Saturday from the respective districts. Arms and ammunition including one AK rifle, a pistol, and ammunition were recovered from their possession. Bhat had come to Srinagar city to carry out targeted killings.
Pak-sponsored terror in Kashmir continues
This incident raises serious questions on the strategy used to determine whether a terror associate or overground worker (OGW) is no longer a threat before he/she is released. Deterrent punishment should also be meted out to civilians like Gowhar Ahmad Bhat who helped lay out the ambush in this case which took away the lives of two soldiers.
Repeal of the ill-conceived Article 370, and making J&K and Ladakh as two separate Union Territories has definitely improved the security situation in the valley. The annual stone-pelting ‘festival’ which used to happen with full connivance of valley’s political outfits like Hurriyat, PDP, NC and Congress, are now a thing of the past. Ordinary Kashmiris are living more freely compared to the time when Islamists associated with Hurriyat controlled the streets.
Yet, Pakistan-sponsored terror has not abated, and with the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan, we can expect a further uptick in jihad. Rather than maintain the current suspended state in relations with Pakistan, we need to completely break ties and keep hitting at terror camps in PoJK and beyond.
While our ‘ally’ USA keeps delivering sermons to Bharat on human rights and democracy, it looks the other way when Pakistan continues flouting all international norms. Lutyens elites also regurgitate the same Western talking points about need to ‘restore normalcy’ in Kashmir and hold talks with rogue Islamo-fascist terror state Pakistan.
(With IANS inputs)