April 2017 News

Two LeT Militants Killed In Budgam, 2nd Encounter In A Month

22 April 2017
The Indian Express

Srinagar: TWO LASHKAR-E-TOIBA (LeT) militants, including a suspected Pakistani national, were killed in a brief encounter with the Army and police in central Kashmir's Budgam district on Saturday. According to the police, the militants opened fire on a patrol party of 53 Rashtriya Rifles(RR) at Hayatpora village of Budgam on Saturday evening, and were killed in retaliatory fire. Army's spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia said that two AK-47 rifles and a pistol were recovered from the two. After the militants opened fire, Director-General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid said the area was cordoned off. Army and SOG personnel then carried out the search operation. Stating that the slain militants belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba, DGP Vaid said that one of them, identified as Ali, was a Pakistani national. The other, Younus Maqbool, a resident of Patrigam in Chadoora, had joined the militant ranks a month ago, police sources said. Younus's father Mohammad Maqbool told The Indian Express on April 13, the day re-polling was held at 38 polling stations of the district for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, that his son was 'forced' to pick up the gun. 'My son was implicated in various cases and was regularly detained by police. They used to harass him a lot, so he found the only escape in gun,' Maqbool had said. 'I did not know he had joined militant ranks. I learnt about it through the Army; they came home and showed me a video clip.' This is the second encounter between militants and security forces in Budgam district in less than a month. On March 29, a militant was killed in gunfight in Chadoora area of the district. Three civilian protesters were also killed, allegedly in firing by the police and paramilitary forces, when they were apparently trying to help the militant escape. Until recently, Budgam was seen as a peaceful area with almost no presence of militants. Even separatists were seen to wield little power there, but it has seen heightened militant presence and also a sudden increase in civilian protests. Known to be a district that recorded with high voter turnout in earlier elections, Budgam surprised everyone during polling for the Srinagar by-election on April 9, when seven people were killed in widespread clashes across the district. Budgam recorded the lowest voter turnout in its history, and the Election Commission ordered re-polling at 38 centres.