Srinagar, April 21: A top commander of Lashker-e-Toiba was among three militants killed while four soldiers, including an officer, and a policeman were injured in gunfight at Malwah area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Thursday, officials said.
“Acting on specific information generated by Budgam police, a special team of Budgam Police alongwith Army (62RR) launched a joint cordon and search operation in Malwah area of Baramulla. During the search operation as the joint search party reached the suspected spot, the hiding (militants) fired indiscriminately upon them in which four (04) soldiers including one officer received minor injuries. The fire was effectively retaliated, leading to an encounter,” a police spokesperson said in a statement, adding, “Later on Baramulla Police headed by SSP Baramulla also joined in the operation. One policeman from Baramulla district also got injured in the encounter who was later on shifted to Army’s base hospital in Srinagar.”
In the ensuing encounter, so far three militants of LeT including outfit’s commander Yousuf Kantroo, one of longest surviving militants, were killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter, the spokesperson said. “Kantroo earlier joined as an OGW of HM (Hizb-ul-Mujahideen) outfit and was arrested in the year 2005. Later on, he was released in the year 2008 but he again joined (militants) rank in the year 2017 and started killing innocent civilians, policemen and political workers,” he said, adding, “Later on he switched from HM to LeT outfit. However, the identification of the other killed (militants) is being ascertained.
As per police records, he said, the killed were categorized militants and part of groups involved in several cases including attacks on Police, SFs and civilians.
“Yousuf Kantroo was involved in dozens of civilian atrocities & SFs personnel killings including killing of SPO Mohammad Ishfaq Dar and his brother Umer Ahmad Dar of Chatabugh Budgam on March 26 this year, killing of BDC Chairman Late Sardar Bhupinder Singh on 23 September 20 in his own native place in Khag, killing of NC Block president at Natipora Chanapora Srinagar, killing of Tajamul Mohidin Dar of Guttapora Budgam on 21 March 2022, killing of Gulzar Ahmad of Lawaypora at Narbal, killing of Tanveer Zargar of Chewa at Narbal, killing of Nazir Ahmad Dar (an employee of Health department) of Warihama at Warihama, killing of Sarpanch Manzoor Ahmad of Pattan.” Besides, the spokesperson said, he was also involved in grenade throwing incidents, abduction and killing of police and SF personnel including killing of CRPF personnel HC Riyaz Ahmad Rather of Nawgam Anantnag at Kanihama by lobbing Grenade on deployment on 23 December 2017, abduction and killing of constable Mohammad Ashraf Rather alias Ishfaq of Archanderhama Magam, abduction and killing of Army Personnel Mohammad Sameer Malla of Lokipora Khag on 7 March this year, killing of SPO Mohammad Altaf during an encounter at Peth-Zanigam, killing of one Ex-SPO Naseer Ahmad Khan of Buchipora Kawoosa Khalisa. “Moreover, he was also involved in snatching 4 AK rifles from the residence of Legislature Muzafar Parray at J-13 Jawahar Nagar Rajbagh. Furthermore, on his directions Abrar Nadeem (neutralized (militant) carried out an attack on CRPF at Lawaypora Srinagar in which 3 CRPF personnel were killed on 25 March 2021.”
In addition to this, Kantroo was also involved in recruiting innocent and “gullible youth” into militant folds including recruitment of Faisal Hafeez Dar of Aaripanth Magam.
“Meanwhile, while commenting on a video which went viral on Social Media, in which mother of a trapped (militant) while mourning is heard saying, “come back my son, you are too young and innocent,” IGP Kashmir yet again appealed parents of other militants to appeal to their wards to shun the path of violence, the spokesperson quoted him as saying . “(The IGP Kashmir) congratulated the joint team of forces for conducting a successful anti-militancy operation by eliminating the top most wanted (militant) Yousuf Kantroo.”