Top Hizbul Commander Among Three Militants Gunned down in Pahalgam
- The slain militant commander, Mohammad Ashraf Khan, was one of the oldest surviving militants in the Valley.
- The incident occurred in Pahalgam- a key route of the Amarnath Yatra.
- Two more terrorists were slain in the encounter.
Jammu & Kashmir: Three terrorists have been killed by the security forces in J&K’s sources said. The encounter is being flagged as a major achivement that would avert terrorist attacks on that route further.
Among the three was one of the oldest surviving Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, the police said. The police added Khan alias Ashraf Molvi and his two associates were killed in a gunfight that started Friday morning in the woods of south Kashmir’s famous tourist destination Pahalgam. Ashraf Molvi (one of the oldest surviving terrorists of the HM terror outfit) along with two other terrorists were killed. Successful operation on yatra route is a major success,” J-K Police said in a tweet while quoting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar.
Khan, a resident of Kokernag in south Kashmir’s Anantnag was on the list of the ten most wanted militant commanders released by the J-K police last year. He had joined Hizbul Mujahideen in 2013 and was active in different parts of south Kashmir for the last nine years. Police sources say while Khan was involved in several militant attacks, he was also instrumental in motivating the local youth to join the militant ranks in south Kashmir. Khan, who police sources say was in his late 40s, was categorized as an A++ militant in the police records.
Acting on the tip-off the police officials had launched a joint team of J-K Police and Army launched a search and cordon operation in the forest area at Sirchand Top of Batkoot which turned into an encounter after hiding terrorists initiated an attack on the national forces.
The identity of the two slain is yet to be disclosed. Khan is the second top militant commander killed in a gunfight this year. On April 22, a top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander, Mohammad Yousuf Dar alias Yousuf Kantroo, was killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Baramulla. Dar was a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander before switching over to Lashkar-e-Toiba.