Two top HM, Al-Jehad ultras, two jawans killed in Poonch
11 July 2002
The Daily Excelsior
POONCH: Two terrorists including a ‘deputy district commander’ of Hizbul Mujahideen Sarfaraz Rathore alias Aziz and two army soldier were killed while another jawan was injured in an encounter at Toti Gali in Surankote tehsil today. Security forces also destroyed two hideouts of the terrorists in Sabjian and Budhal forests. Official sources said army and Poonch police launched a joint search operation in Toti Gali near Chambayar forests in Hari Budha area of Surankote in early hours of this morning after developing an information regarding presence of a group of terrorists. An encounter between the two sides ensued when the terrorists started heavy firing on approaching columns of the security personnel. In the first hour of the encounter, one terrorist and an army jawan were killed. Other terrorists escaped but they were followed by security personnel in Chambayar forest area where a fresh exchange of firing took place this afternoon leading to the killing of one more terrorist and a jawan, the sources said. The terrorist, who was killed in the encounter in the morning, was a hard-core terrorist of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit. He has been identified as Sarfaraz Rathore alias Aziz, a ‘deputy district commander’ of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit, hailing from Bagh district in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). One Pika gun, three magazines, 80 rounds and a wireless set were recovered from his possession. Rathore’s associate, who was killed in the forests, was identified as Hamza Turkey, a top activist of Al Jehad, hailing from Pakistan. From his possession, security forces recovered one AK rifle, 120 rounds and one wireless set. Deceased army jawans have been identified as Pritam Lal and Vikrant and the injured as Raj Kumar. Sources said a search operation was still going on in Toti Gali forests in search of the absconding terrorists. However, the fleeing ultras hadn’t been spotted again till late this evening, they added. Meanwhile, security personnel today destroyed a hideout of the terrorists in Sabjian area of this district and recovered a large quantity of explosive material. The hideout was being used by atleast half a dozen terrorists for night halt. Recoveries made from the hideout included six anti-tank rifle grenades, four boosters, five detonators, one wireless set and 12 rifle grenades. The terrorists were not present in the hideout when it was raided by security forces. Another hideout of the terrorists was destroyed by army in Kota village of Budhal in Rajouri district this afternoon. Two hand grenades, one Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL), two AK magazines, 350 rounds and 16 Pika rounds were recovered from the hideout, the sources said.