Anantnag, Sep 19: Jammu and Kashmir police Tuesday said that top Lashkar-e-Toiba Commander Uzair Khan has been killed in an encounter at Gadool, Kokernag in southern district of Anantnag while as a lifeless body was also lying flat near the gunfight spot.
Talking to reporters, ADGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar, said that Uzair Khan, who was involved in the killing of an army Colonel, Major and a DySP on the first day of the gunfight. “Uzair Khan has been killed and his body has been retrieved. There is another body lying on the ground. We had information about the presence of two to three terrorists in the area,” the ADGP said on the seventh day of the Gadool operation. Khan is a resident of Nagam, Kokernag. The second body, as per ADGP Kashmir, seems to be that of a foreign terrorist. He, however, said things will be clear once the body is retrieved.
Asked whether the operation has been called off, he said that search operation will remain on form some. “I urge the locals not to go closer to the encounter site as unexploded grenades or shells may cause harm to them,” he said. On total casualties from the security forces side, the ADGP said: “Three officers, two from army and one from police besides a soldier were killed in the encounter.”
He added that a search operation in a vast area is yet to be conducted and the body of a third terrorist may be found there. Pertinently, on Wednesday, the first of the gunfight, Colonel Manpreet Singh, who was the Commanding Officer of 19 RR, Major Aashish Dhonchak and DySP Humayun Bhat, the son of former DIG Kashmir Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, were killed in the initial firing.
An official privy to the operation said that search operation is still going on in the area and it will continue till the area will be fully cleared. The para-commandos along with additional 20 companies of forces have been deployed in the area to search the area and the movement of terrorists was being monitored closely by helicopters.
“During the joint security operation, we used grenade launchers and shells on terrorist hideout locations using drones,” he said. Official sources said that there are 81 militants active in Kashmir division and among them, 33 are locals while the rest are non-locals. On Thursday, the operation continued in which two soldiers received injuries and were shifted to hospital for treatment. On Friday, the body of a soldier, who had been missing since Wednesday during the gunfight with terrorists, was recovered from the encounter site.
On Sunday and Monday a body of solider and two charred bodies were recovered from the site and among them one is said of Uzair Khan while identification of other is being ascertained. Earlier, DGP Dilbagh Singh had stated that due to the tough terrain and involvement of huge risk, the security forces were following a proper plan to track down the terrorists at Gadool. Pertinently, northern army commander Lt General Upendera Divwedi had also visited the spot and reviewed the operation. The army and police had pressed on the latest gadgets including Heron, Hexacopter, drones, quad-copters, RPGs, grenades and drone-fitted guns to eliminate the terrorists. The operation was the biggest in Kashmir as it took security forces seven days to eliminate the terrorists.
The Kokernag encounter is the biggest since August 5 this year in south Kashmir when three soldiers of Army’s 34 RR were killed in Halan Manzgam forest area of Kulgam district. On March 30, 2020, five security personnel-including a Colonel, a Major and a Sub-Inspector were killed in an 18-hour-long encounter in north Kashmir’s Handwara.
This was the first encounter in the district in around the last four months as in May contact was established with terrorists in Sagam area of Kokernag. However, they later managed to give slip to forces.
This year so far, 51 terrorists have been killed in J&K and among them 41 were foreigners and 10 were locals. Officials said that around 20 security forces were killed this year in terrorist attacks and encounters this year.