After a spade of targeted killing of Hindus in Srinagar valley, 5 terrorists including the Resistance Front commander were killed today in an encounter in J&K’s Kulgam. For the uninitiated TRF (The Resistance Front) is related to the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan based terrorism front. While the search and cordon operation continue, J&K Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar stated that the TRF commander Afaq Sikander was killed by the security forces.

Amid a surge in militant activities, at least 86 militants were reported being killed till July 2021. As many as 36 terrorists were killed in 16 encounters in June and July 2021.

Background

To say the picturesque valley of Jammu & Kashmir has witnessed bloodshed after Indian independence would be an understatement. A disputed territory, Jammu and Kashmir witnesses several civilian casualties every year.

Interestingly enough, in 2020 when the entire world was brought to a screeching halt, 140 terror incidents were reported in J&K with at least 1 death in each accident. As many as 232 militants were gunned down during that period, while 36 civilians lost their lives.

Recently, the summer capital of J&K witnessed a slew of targeted killings where Hindus were gunned down by assailants.


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The Facts of the Matter

Five terrorists were killed in two encounters that were conducted in Jammu and Kashmir on November 17, 2021. The search and cordon operation is still ongoing in the Gopalpora village, about 65 km from Srinagar. The biggest upside of the encounter stands to be the death of the Resistance Front commander Afaq Sikander.

Earlier in the day, news agency ANI cited sources saying, “Intense counter-terrorist operations are going on in Kulgam, Jammu and Kashmir. Four terrorists have been killed in two separate encounters. There has been a major recovery of IEDs.”


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J&K Forces Received Tip Off, Search Operation Turns into Encounter

Giving details about the encounter, IGP Vijay Kumar said that a search and cordon operation kicked off in Gopalpora after inputs were received on the presence of the terrorists. The operation turned into an encounter after the terrorists fired on the forces. The forces retaliated and an encounter ensued.

The Infamous Hyderpora Encounter

The news comes just a day after the controversial Hyderpora encounter where civilians were killed in an encounter operation by the J&K security forces. Reportedly, 2 militants were killed in the operation. Further, 2 civilian businessmen were also killed in the encounter. The police claimed that the businessmen were “terrorist supporters”.

The police claimed that a terrorist including his associate Mohammad Amir were killed in the encounter. The civilians were identified as Altaf Bhat and Mudassir Gul.


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Family Members of Alleged Civilians Protest

On Wednesday, the families of Altaf and Mudassir held protest in the city, seeking the return of the dead bodies of their family members.

An Indian Express report quoted the family members of both the alleged civilians. Bhat’s brother claimed that Altaf had a business in the Hyderpora region since the last 30 years. He also claimed that he had rented a building and had shared the verification of the tenants in the police station.

He further said that his brother was an innocent man and a taxpayer in India. He claimed that the J&K police knew him and regularly paid him a visit.

Meanwhile, visuals of Mudassir’s wife Humaira were viral on internet. In her appeal she claimed that her husband was an innocent man. She further sought justice and asked the forces to return their body to his wife, mother and father, and 1-year-old daughter Inaya.