SRINAGAR — After a decline during COVID-19, gunfights in Jammu and Kashmir especially the southern districts have shown a sudden increase with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant outfit losing over a dozen of its men in less than two weeks.
In the last 11 days, South Kashmir witnessed six gunfights in which 15 militants were killed. All the slain were affiliated with LeT.
Pertinently, of the six gunfights, three happened in Kulgam district, two in Pulwama and one in Anantnag. However, there was no gunfight in Shopian, the district where most of the gunfights were reported in the ensuing year.
Notably, the 15 killed militants include two top commanders namely Neeshaz Lone a resident of Tral Pulwama, and Aarif Hajam, a resident of Sadoora Anantnag.
Police termed the killing of Neeshaz and Aarif a big success and said that the former was involved in the killing of Army Havaldar Manzoor Beigh of 162 Bn Territorial Army on June 6, 2019, while he was on leave.
Pertinently, on June 30, three militants were killed in a gunfight in Chimmer Noorabad area of Kulgam district.
The slain militants were identified as Waseem Ahmad Bangroo, a resident of Redwani Kulgam, missing since June 19, and Shahbaz Ahmad, a resident of Shopian. He was active since 2020.
Zakir Bashir, a resident of Chimmer DH Pora area of Kulgam, who, according to police, had joined ranks recently, was the third slain.
On July 2, five militants including a top commander were killed in a 17-hour-long gunfight in Hanjan Rajpora area of Pulwama district.
They have been identified as Nishaz Hussain Lone alias Khitab (district commander LeT), son of Manzoor Ahmed Lone, active since 2018, a resident of Nageenpora Tral; Danish Manzoor Shiekh, son of Manzoor Ahmad, a resident of Sathergund Kakapora; Amir Wagay, son of Ab Gani Wagay, a resident of Hanjan Payeen; Manzoor Lone, a resident of Gurez, and a foreign militant, identified as Abu Rehan alias Tawheed, a resident of Pakistan. All the killed militants were linked with LeT.
On July 8, four militants were killed in two separate gunfights in Pulwama and Kulgam districts.
In Pulwama, two militants namely Kifayat Ramzan from Padgampora and Inayat Ahmad Dar from Samboora were killed in a gunfight in Puchal area of the district while in Kulgam, two militants identified as Shahbaz Ahmad Shah, a resident of Katrusu Kulgam, and Nasir Ahmad Pandith from Redwani Kulgam were killed in a brief gunfight in Zadora Kulgam.
On July 9, militants managed to escape after an exchange of fire in Redwani area of Kulgam. However, July 10 saw the killing of three militants in Kwaripora area of Anantnag. They were identified as Basit Ahmad from Telwani Anantnag, Suhail Ahmad from Pulwama, and Arif Ahmad Hajam from Sadoora Anantnag.
Police officials said that among the 15 slain militants, two were top commanders. All the slain were affiliated with the LeT.