Srinagar, April 1 (IANS) The Army said on Sunday that it lost two men in fierce gun battles which led to the killing in Jammu and Kashmir of eight militants including those who abducted and killed Lt Ummer Fayaz in May last year.
Two civilians were also killed in two different operations, one each in Shopian and Anantnag districts, while a security offensive was going on elsewhere in Shopian, the Army, police as well as the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said.
Addressing a joint press conference at Awantipora in Pulwama district, Lt Gen A.K. Bhatt, Commander of the Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said: “Today is a very special day for all our security forces.
“We have killed eight terrorists in two operations… A third operation against terrorists is still going on in Kachdoora village.”
Gen Bhatt said two terrorists responsible for killing Lt Fayaz when he was visiting his family on a holiday had been eliminated.
“I appeal to youths not to get lured by weapons. Anybody who uses weapons will be dealt with in the same manner we dealt with the terrorists today.”
He said Sunday’s was the biggest anti-militancy operation in the Kashmir Valley in a long time.
Jammu and Kashmir Police chief S.P. Vaid said that at the site of one of the battles, Dialgam, a Senior Superintendent of Police made a special effort to persuade the terrorists to surrender.
He called the family members of the two terrorists in a bid to persuade them to give themselves up.
“Instead of surrendering, one of the holed up terrorists opened fire and the security forces had no option but to kill him.
“The other one we caught alive. Operations are carried out most professionally by the security forces.
“Two Army jawans have been martyred in the operation while some others belonging to the Army, CRPF and police have been injured.”
The officer said two civilian were also killed in the fighting.
“One was the house owner in Dragad village where the terrorists were holed up and the other was injured in clashes in Kachdoora.
“Six civilians sustained bullet injuries and we hope they get well soon.”
The police chief said all the seven bodies of local militants killed in Dragad have been claimed by their families.
He identified the killers of Lt Fayaz as Ahmad Malik and Rayees Thokar, both of whom were shot dead in Dragad.
The police chief said four to five militants were trapped in Kachdoora where the security forces were still battling the militants.
“It is painful for all of us to see the loss of young lives. I appeal to parents to ensure children do not get lured by guns.”
Inspector General of Police S.P. Pani said Internet had been suspended in all four south Kashmir districts. “Train services were also suspended as a precaution.”
Srinagar city, he added, was by and large peaceful.