A LASHKAR-E-TOIBA (LeT) commander was among the two militants killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Bandipore on Sunday. Police said the slain Lashkar militants were involved in the killing of BJP leader Waseem Bari and his family members last year.
On Saturday evening, a joint team of police, Army and the CRPF cordoned off Watrina village of Bandipore after specific inputs about the presence of militants there. On Sunday morning as the joint team of forces tightened the cordon, they established contact with the militants trapped in the village.
“During the operation the holed-up terrorists were given repeated opportunities to surrender. However, they refused to surrender,” the police said in an official release. “[They] instead fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter.”
The police said that two militants were killed in the gunfight. The two were identified as Abid Rashid Dar alias Haqqani and Azad Ahmad Shah, both residents of Pakistan.
Haqqani, the police said, was a top Lashkar commander, who travelled to Pakistan on visa through Wagah border in 2018. The police said Haqqani infiltrated back into the valley in 2019 after receiving arms training in Pakistan.
They said the slain militants, together with a Pakistani militant, were involved in the killing of BJP leader Sheikh Waseem Bari and his family members. Bari, his brother and father – who were also associated with the BJP – were killed in July last year.
The police said that both Haqqani and Shah were involved in “planning and executing terror attacks” on security establishments and civilians. Haqqani was also involved in motivating the youth to join the militant ranks, they said.