Shalimar encounters: Top LeT commander, associate killed
Srinagar: Two militants including the top Lashkar-e-Toiba commander were killed in two separate brief shootouts in Shalimar area of Srinagar, police said Monday.The slain LeT commander was identified as Muhammad Saleem Parray of Bandipora, who was active since 2016 while another was identified as a foreign militant.
Talking to reporters, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar said that two militants were cornered in Shalimar area of Srinagar.“They opened fire at the forces and initially one militant Saleem Parray was killed in a retaliatory action,” Kumar said.“Srinagar police cornered Saleem Paray and he opened fire. In the retaliatory firing, he was killed,” IGP Kashmir said.“The killing of Parray is a big success for police as he was involved in dozens of killings. “In 2016 agitation, Saleem Parray had killed 12 civilians by slitting their throats,” he said, adding that Parray was killed in an encounter at Shalimar garden in Srinagar.He said Parray’s aide was killed in Gusu area and he was identified as a foreign militant. “Two militants were killed in two successive operations in Shalimar,” the IGP said.
A police spokesman in a statement later said that police along with security forces neutralized two militants including top most wanted and dreaded militant Saleem Parray of Hajin in two separate successive operations at Shalimar area in the outskirts of Srinagar city.
“Based on specific input generated by Police regarding presence of militant in Harwan/Shalimar area, a search operation was launched by Srinagar Police and CRPF in the said area. During the search operation, the search party was fired upon indiscriminately by hiding militant, which was effectively retaliated leading to a brief shootout and elimination of a dreaded militant Saleem Parray, linked with proscribed terror outfit LeT,” the spokesman said.
“Soon after the said operation, another operation was carried out by Police, CRPF along with Army in Gasu area under PS Zakoora. During the said operation, one foreign militant identified as Hafiz alais Hamza of Pakistan linked with LeT was killed. The spokesman said that both the slain were involved in series of crimes including civilian killings, attacks on forces and political leaders.
While interacting with media persons, IGP Vijay Kumar said that Pakistani militant Hafiz @ Hamza was involved in several crimes including the recent killing of two policemen at Gulshan Chowk Bandipora on 10 December 2021.
Kumar said that after the incident, Hamza shifted to Harwan area of Srinagar due to frequent cordon and search operations in Bandipora area.“He was also involved in killing of a CRPF personnel at Hajin Bandipora, killing of a civilian namely Nadif Hanief Khan of Bilal Colony Soura in Buchpora,” Kumar added.
With the killing of one of the longest surviving and most wanted militants of Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) Saleem Parray in an encounter with security forces the Hajin tehsil in Bandipora district is now without any local surviving militant, sources said.The Hajin tehsil in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district was once the hotbed of militancy with many local militants and dozens of foreigners active in the area but now the village has no active militant now as all of them have been killed by the security forces.After 1995, Abid Hamid Mir became the first local militant in 2017 who was later killed by government forces in the Sopore encounter. In October 2017, two LeT militants including a local Nasrullah Mir, son of Nazir Ahmad Mir, resident of Hajin were killed in an encounter which also left two air force commandos dead.In November 2017, Hajin witnessed one of major encounters in which six militants including top LeT commanders Abu Zargam and Mehmood Bhai died.
Even top militants such as Abu Musaib, and Owaid the nephews of Zakir-ur-Rehamn Lakhwi, mastermind of Mumbai attacks stayed in the town for some time and were later killed in 2017.In August 2018, the area was once again in the grip of militancy after two boys Mudasir Parray and Saquib Mushtaq disappeared from the area and had joined militancy. However, in December of the same year security forces killed both of them in the Mujgund encounter, on the outskirts of Srinagar.In January 2020, an active LeT militant Nisar Ahmad Dar, a resident of Hajin, was arrested by the Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police from Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in the city.In October 2021, J&K police had said that a local TRF militant Imtiyaz Ahmad involved in the killing of a cab driver, was killed in a gunfight with security forces in Gundjahangir village of the tehsil.
Saleem Parray who was killed in Monday’s Srinagar encounter was the last local surviving LeT militant of Hajin and was active since 2016.
A senior official said that Parray was involved in a number of civilian killings and other militant activities. An official said that the forces were in search of him for a long time and finally were successful in neutralizing him.
“It is true that there are no local active militants in the Hajin area as of now. However, we cannot deny the presence of local and foreign militants in Bandipora keeping in view the recent attack on police in Bandipora which left two policemen dead,” he said.Meanwhile, the army claimed to have foiled an infiltration bid along the LoC inHamirpur area of Balakote in Poonch’s Mendhar sub division.Defence sources said that the infiltration attempt took place on LoC and movement of infiltrators was timely intercepted and attempt was foiled by troops.
They said that after foiling the infiltration attempt, the area of Haamirpur has been cordoned by troops and intense searches are being conducted.”There are possibilities of injury on part of infiltrators and their presence in forward area cannot be ruled out for which a major anti militancy operation is on.” official sources said. (with inputs from KNO)