Soldier-turned-rebel among two killed in Shopian

In a pre-dawn operation, security forces killed two militants at Safnagari village near Zainapora in southern Shopian district on Tuesday.

One of the slain militants has been identified as Mir Idrees Sultan, a former soldier. Mir Idrees Sultan, a resident of Safnagari, was serving in the Army’s 12 JAKLI and was posted in Bihar before he joined militant ranks in April this year. Idrees had come to home on leave but never went to join back his duty. A few days later, a picture of Idrees holding an AK-47 rifle went viral on social media. The soldier joined the Hizbul Mujahideen. According to the picture, Idrees had studied till BSc second year and was serving in the Army’s 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) in Bihar.

He was second soldier to have deserted army to join militant ranks.  On July 6, 2017, Territorial Army soldier Zahoor Ahmad Thokar of Sirnoo, Pulwama, had deserted his unit in Gantamulla area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district and fled with an AK 47 rifle and ammunition to join the Hizbul Mujahideen.

The other slain militant was identified as Amir Hussain Rathar of Aawneera village near Zainpora.

A police spokesperson said security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the predawn hours based on specific information.

“As the search operation was going on, hiding militants fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter. In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and they were identified as Mohd Idrees alias Chota Abrar of Safanagri in Shopian and Amir Hussain Rather alias Abu Sobaan of Awneera in Shopian,” the spokesperson said.

He added both were affiliated with militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen. He also said no collateral damage took place during the operation.

“Incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition, were recovered from the site of encounter. Police have registered a case and initiated investigation in the instant matter,” he added.

Police have asked villagers not to venture inside the encounter zone as the area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials.

“People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitised and cleared of all the explosives materials if any,” the spokesperson said.

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