Srinagar: Hours after Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists carried out an attack which left two CRPF jawans and a Jammu and Kashmir policeman martyred in Kreeri area of Baramulla district on Monday, security forces chased the ultras and killed two of them in an encounter, police said.
The forces were engaged in a battle with the third terrorist and the operation was on, the police said when the last report came in.
Police said the encounter began hours after the attack on a ‘naka’ party of the security forces in which two CRPF personnel and a Special Police Officer (SPO) of Jammu and Kashmir police were martyred. They have been identified as SPO Muzaffar Ali of District Police Baramulla, Constable Lokesh Sharma and Constable Khurshid Khan of 119 Bn CRPF.
Immediately after the attack, the security forces cordoned off the area and launched searches to nab the terrorists, they said.
Contact was established with them and during the exchange of fire, two terrorists were killed, the police said, adding that the operation was going on.
Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said one of the two killed terrorists is Sajad Haider — the number one in the LeT outfit in north Kashmir and among the top ten ultras in Jammu and Kashmir.
The two killed terrorists have been identified. One of them is Sajad Haider alias ‘Jaja’ a resident of Dangerpora Sopore. He was a terrorist since 2016, and was active like (former Hizbul Mujahideen commander) Burhan Wani in the north Kashmir belt, the DGP told reporters at a press conference here.
Singh said like Wani, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in 2016, Haider was also responsible for making several people join the terror ranks in north Kashmir.
We have arrested about 20 of those (terrorists who joined the terror ranks on the insistence of Haider) and have also neutralised his OGW network. He has a long list of crimes and was the main architect, the brain behind the killing of BJP’s former Bandipora president Waseem Bari and his brother and father, Singh said.
The DGP said the LeT commander was also involved in the July 1 Sopore attack in which one CRPF jawan was martyred and four others were injured. He was also involved in several other civilian killings, he added.
The DGP said after the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year, Haider targeted fruit merchants in Sopore on September 6 in which a person was killed and his four-year-old granddaughter was injured.
Recently, he started making audio and video recordings like former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo who was killed in an encounter with security forces in May this year — and threatening people including journalists, Singh said.
Haider was responsible for destroying many families… While obviously the martyrdom of two CRPF jawans and a cop is a huge loss, but the way the police, CRPF and Army did the operation, it is a successful operation in the real sense and I hope that many families will heave a sigh of relief with his killing, he said.
The DGP said the second terrorist killed in the encounter has been identified as Anaytullah Mir, a resident of Pattan.
He was trained by Haider in March this year. The chances are that the third one may be a foreign terrorist and reportedly Usman who was the commander, from the Pakistani side, of north zone of LeT. The exchange of firing is on and we have not yet retrieved the third body, he added.
Earlier, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said three terrorists suspected to belong to the LeT outfit carried out the attack.
According to eye witnesses, there were three terrorists, who came from the nearby dense orchards and started firing indiscriminately on the ‘naka’ in which three jawans — two from CRPF and one J-K Police — were martyred. It seems the LeT has carried out the attack. We will give them a befitting reply soon, Kumar told reporters at the site of the attack.
Asked whether the terrorists have changed their strategy and were attacking the security forces and then fleeing the spot, the IGP said it was a matter of concern, but the forces will soon find a solution to the problem.
It is a matter of concern. The number of forces on a ‘naka’ point is less and is normally in a remote area where they (terrorists) conceal themselves by coming along with civilians and then fire on the forces. We have faced losses and they have managed to flee a few times, but, we will soon find a response to this tactic and end this problem, he said.
A police spokesperson added that Sajad alias Haider was also involved in attack on CRPF party at Sopore resulting in martyrdom of one personnel and injuries to four other personnel, killing of civilians namely Eid-ul-Amin Mir @Nazir Budoo (tower guard) R/o Behrampora Sopore, Gh Mohi ud Din Sheikh R/o Bomai and Mushtaq Ahmad Mir R/o Harwan Sopore besides firing on the family of a fruit merchant namely Haidullah Rather at Dangerpora Sopore in which 4 family members including a three year baby got injured. He was also involved in firing on a non local labour namely Mohammad Shafi Alam near Noorbagh Bypass in order to terrorise the non local labourers.
Moreover, he was also involved in setting ablaze two Maruti cars at Reban Sopore and Warpora Sopore to terrorise transporters for observing complete shutdown.
While the other killed terrorist Anayatullah Mir was also involved in threatening and harassing civilians in Pattan area and transporting of foreign terrorists from Northern Kashmir to Central/Southern Kashmir parts.