2 Army Personnel Martyred In Shopian, Encounter Is Underway


Srinagar:Two Army personnel, including a major, have been killed in an ongoing encounter between security personnel and militants in Zaipora village in Jammu & Kashmir’s Shopian district. The Army has neither confirmed nor denied the casualties. The confrontation began early Thursday morning.

Two or three militants are believed to be trapped in the village. A search operation is on to nab them.

The area had been cordoned off. The Army had received intelligence about the presence of militants in the village, after which a search was launched in the night itself.

Earlier in the day, an encounter in the Valley’s Kulgam district claimed the lives of two militants, one of whom partook in an attack on a bank’s cash van, on May 1 this year. The Army recovered weapons.

On Tuesday, top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Dujana, 26, a Pakistani national suspected to be behind several attacks in South Kashmir, and his local associate, Arif Ahmad Dar, 17, were killed in an encounter at Harkipora village in Pulwama district.

“It is a big achievement for us since this terrorist (Dujana) had been spreading terror for a long time… he was A++ category militant,” said Director General of Police SP Vaid. The encounter began at about 8 am, and was over within 40 minutes after security forces blasted the house.

Dujana, who carried a reward of Rs 15 lakh on his head, is suspected to have sneaked into the Valley some years ago. Dar, his associate, was from the neighbouring Lelhar village and had joined militancy about a year ago. While Dar was buried in Lelhar, Dujana’s body was yet to be handed over.

Dujana was elevated as the top Lashkar commander after the killing of Abu Qasim in 2015. He was also one of the top Lashkar recruiters, especially in South Kashmir. His name figured in a recent list released by the Army of top militant commanders active in South Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs said Wednesday that 109 militants have been killed in the first seven months of 2017. In a statement in Rajya Sabha, MoS (Home) Hansraj Ahir said 184 incidents of violence were reported from Jammu and Kashmir till the end of July 2017.

There were 155 incidents last year during the same period. Violence has risen successively in the past three years with 222 incidents in 2014, 208 in 2015 and 322 in 2016. Killings of civilians, security forces and militants too have increased. The number of militants killed was 150 last year, before reaching 109 until end-July this year. According to the MHA, 15 civilian deaths were reported last year; this year until July 19 civilians have been killed, besides 38 security personnel.