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2 Lashkar ultras killed, 2 locals die in bid to save terrorists

Author: Khursheed Wani
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: July 2, 2017
URL:   http://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/2-lashkar-ultras-killed-2-locals-die-in-bid-to-save-terrorists.html

The security forces on Saturday shot dead two Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) terrorists, including a top-ranking commander Bashir Lashkari who was involved in a series of attacks on police and security forces, during a fierce gunfight in Dyalgam pocket of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

 Two protesters, including a woman, too died during the gunfight as a large number of people attempted to run over the encounter site to help the holed-up terrorists escape. Before the final assault was launched in the terrorists’ hideout, the security forces ensured safe passage of civilians held up in the cordoned area. J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed anguish over the civilian killings.

 Sources said the Army assisted by police and paramilitaries cordoned off Brinti Dialgam village in Anantnag on Saturday morning. While the cordon was being laid, hundreds of villagers marched towards the encounter site to help terrorists escape. The security forces fired automatic weapons and pellet guns to keep the marchers at bay.

 During the action, locals said, two civilians, 44-year-old Tahira and 21-year-old Shadab Ahmad Chopan, were killed. The woman was hit with a bullet much before the actual encounter triggered off, they said.

 Police chief Shesh Paul Ved confirmed that two terrorists were killed in the encounter. The slain ultras were identified as Bashir Ahmad Wani alias Bashir Lashkari and Abu Maaz, a Pakistani national.

 Police said killing of Lashkari rendered a big blow to LeT outfit. He was involved in the killing of six policemen including Station House Officer of Achabal Police Station Feroz Ahmed Dar. The major attack was carried out last month.

 Lashkari, a resident of Kokernag area of Anantnag was the most-wanted terrorist (A++ category) with a bounty of Rs10 lakh on his head. Police had vowed to eliminate him after the major assault on the cops last month. A senior police officer tweeted that justice has been done while referring to Lashkari’s death. Lashkari, had crossed over to PoK in 1999 and returned to Kashmir under the State Government amnesty scheme in 2012. He was arrested for de-briefing on his return from PoK and remained jailed for two years. He was released in 2014 but returned to militant ranks in 2015.

 Sources said that at least 17 civilians were held up inside the cordoned area during the initial phase of the encounter. Police said terrorists tried to use the civilians as ‘human shield’ but the attempt was foiled with safe passage of the civilians.

 Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed grief over the death of the two civilians at Anantnag during the operation. Terming the deaths as tragic and unfortunate, the Chief Minister appealed the people to keep away from the points of conflagration so that precious human lives are not lost.

 Conveying her sympathies to the bereaved families, Mehbooba said the vicious cycle of death and destruction confronting Kashmir must end at the earliest and efforts should be made at all levels to revive the peace and reconciliation process for the larger good of the people sandwiched in a gory situation.

 “We in Jammu & Kashmir understand better what the ordeal of violence is, as it has been our fate to live through and survive its frightening and devouring hazards,” she said and added that for the people of Jammu & Kashmir, suffering over two decades of turmoil, has been a long, dark experience, bloody at times and frustrating at almost every step. “This gory era must end now for the sake of our future generations,” she said.

  The separatist groups called for a day-long shutdown against the civilian killings in the encounter.
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