Srinagar: Two Hizbul Mujahedeen militants, allegedly involved in a rifle-snatching incident in Lolab, were killed in an encounter in Kupwara on Thursday.
Bilal Ahmad Shah, of Shatmuqam, and Zahoor Ahmad, of Thayeen village, were locals from Kupwara who had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen ranks this year.
They were killed at Khumriyal, around 12 km from Kandhar village where they had snatched the rifle of a policeman on Wednesday.
Officials said the police had been tracking movement of the militants involved in rifle snatching as it was the first rifle snatching incident in Kupwara district in recent years.
Locals said the militants who were travelling in a car were intercepted by joint team of police and the army, two kilometres before Kupwara town, and were killed after a brief encounter.
A police spokesman said the militants fired at cops conducting checking at a post, prompting retaliation.
“The militant were involved in several attacks on the security establishments and civilian atrocities in the area. An AK 47 rifle and an INSAS rifle was recovered from the slain militants which was yesterday snatched from a policeman in Kandhar,’’ the spokesman said.
In March, a picture of Bilal Ahmad Shah, who had been missing, appeared on the social media holding the rifle. His father was a former Hizbul Mujahideen militant, who was killed in an encounter during the initial years of the militancy in 1991. Shah was working in Srinagar fruit market before he joined the militant ranks. Zahoor was a former militant and had rejoined two months ago.
Both the youths joined militancy after Manan Wani, a research scholar who also hailed from the Kupwara district joined militancy. Last month, a militant from Chogal village in Kupwara district was killed in Pulwama during an encounter.
Police said though foreign militants are operating in Kupwara district, militants are making desperate attempts to lure local youths or former militants to join their ranks.