TSL News Network
BIJBEHARA, Nov 21: Believed be brain behind the killing of Rising Kashmir Editor Syed Shujaat Bukhari; top Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Azad Ahmad Malik was among six militants killed in a gunfight in Shalgund village of Dashnipora in Bijbehara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Friday.
An army spokesman in Srinagar said that six militants were killed in the gunfight. “Six militants killed, weapons and warlike stores recovered. Operation in progress,” said the spokesman. Among the terrorists killed included Azad Ahmad Malik alias Dada son of Nazir Ahmed Malik, a resident of Idgah Mohallah in Arwani village of Bijbehara and his associate Basit Ahmed Mir son of Ishtiyaq Ahmed Mir, a resident of Pushwara village of Khanabal.
Other militants killed have been identified as Unas Shafi Bhat son of Mohammed Shafi Bhat, a resident of Takiya Maqsood Shah of Bijbehara town, Atif Nazar, a resident of Waghama village of Anantnag, Firdous Ahmed, a resident of Pulwama and Shahid Ahmed Malik, a resident of Kawani in Awantipora.
He said the bodies of Malik and Mir have been handed over to the next of their kin. The bodies of other four militants are lying at the DPL Anantnag. Pertinently, Malik has been blamed by the police for the killing of journalist and editor Shujaat Bukhari.
Bukhari and his two personal security officers (PSOs) were shot dead by terrorists outside the newspaper’s office in the heart of Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital on June 14, earlier this year. The journalist was the brother of Bashrat Ahmed Bukhari, who was a minister in Mehbooba Mufti government. Bukhari was the fourth journalist to be killed by militants in the nearly three-decade-long violence in Kashmir.
Earlier police had said that there was tangible evidence to establish that the conspiracy to kill Bukhari was hatched by Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) in Pakistan and three cadres of the banned outfit including Naveed Jatt had executed the plan. Reports said that a joint team of army’s 3RR and SOG Anantnag launched a cordon and search operation before dawn in Shalgund-Satkipora in Dachnipora belt of Bijbehara following inputs about the presence of militants. As soon as the forces approached the suspected spot, the hiding militants opened fire, triggering a gunfight. Authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in Anantnag district as a “precautionary measure.”
The official Police handout claims:
Based on a credible input about the presence of militants, a cordon and search operation was launched jointly by Police and security forces at the onset of dawn today inside a jungle area of Shalgund-Satkipora at Bijbehara in District Anantnag.
As the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight. In the process, six militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. Their identities and affiliation are being ascertained.
Incriminating materials including huge quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter. Pertinently no collateral damage took place in this incident.
Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any.