Srinagar: Ahead of the annual Amarnath pilgrimage, two Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, including its self-styled divisional commander Shakoor Ahmed Dar, were killed in an encounter with security forces, while another militant surrendered, in Kulgam district of south Kashmir on Sunday, police said.
The police said that a tip-off had been received about the presence of some militants in the Chedar Ban area of Qaimoh in Kulgam district, after which a joint team of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Army and the CRPF, cordoned off the suspect house this afternoon.
"As the joint patrol approached towards the suspect house, a group of terrorists hiding inside fired indiscriminately on the security forces, to which forces retaliated cautiously leading to an encounter in the area," the police said in a statement, adding that two terrorists hiding inside the house were successfully eliminated by the security forces.
"We followed the standard operating procedure during which two terrorists were killed and one, who had joined militancy recently, surrendered. He has been taken into custody," Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) Swayam Prakash Pani said here.
He said on the basis of the materials recovered from the encounter site, it is understood that one of the killed terrorists is Shakoor Ahmed Dar, the divisional commander of LeT. The second terrorist was a Pakistani national known as Haider.
Dar, a resident of Sopat Tengpora of Kulgam, was operating as the divisional commander of proscribed terror outfit LeT and several terror-related cases were registered against him in different police stations of south Kashmir. He was involved in a number of other civilian atrocities and attack on security establishments in the area, police said.
"Incriminating materials and huge quantity of ammunition were also seized from the site of encounter," police said, adding a case had been registered.
"While two terrorists were killed, one local terrorist whose identity is being protected, surrendered at the encounter site before the police... The (surrendered) terrorist is in the custody of police," Pani said.
Security forces have been carrying out operations to sanitise the Jammu-Srinagar national highway ahead of the annual Amarnath pilgrimage, beginning June 28, another senior police official said.
This is the third major encounter along the national highway. Three militants of Jaish were gunned down in Tral on June 20, four of IS-JK, an affiliate of the banned ISIS terror group, including its chief Dawood Sofi, were killed on June 22.
In a separate incident at Gobal village, four kilometres from the encounter site, people pelted stones at an Army convoy, police said.
The Army fired warning shots in air, after which shots were fired on the unruly crowd, resulting in the death of a 23-year-old man and pellet injuries to two others, who have been sent to the Anantnag district hospital, the police said.