Security forces have gunned down two militants in an ongoing encounter in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Police have identified one of the militants as Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Okasha, wanted for the Udhampur attack on a BSF convoy in August last year.
The fighting broke out on Wednesday evening when the security forces laid siege to a farm of the State’s Agriculture Department where a large group of LeT militants including a top commander were reportedly holding a meeting. The militants tried to break through the security forces’ dragnet by opening indiscriminate fire but reinforcements from Army’s 50 and 55 Rashtriya Rifles and local police’s counterinsurgency Special Operations Group (SOG) along with CRPF quickly laid two rows of Concertina barbed wire around an adjacent apple orchards and a poplar nursery to block their way.
According to intelligence inputs, LeT’s Kashmir chief Abu Dujana was among those who managed to escape from the encounter site, a police official said.
“We have killed two militants so far including Abu Okasha,” said inspector general of police, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gilani adding that the firing has stopped but the cordon is still there.
Two militants were killed in the exchange of firing but five of their accomplices managed to escape, the official said adding the bodies of the slain ultras have been recovered. As the security forces were battling the militants, a group of local residents started pelting stones at the personnel of law enforcing agencies, the official said.
The diversion in attention of the security forces caused by the stone-pelting incident allowed the other militants to escape from the cordon, the official said.
Dujana took over operational command of Lashkar following the killing of Abu Qasim in Kulgam area of south Kashmir in October last year.