Three unidentified terrorists were killed in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Saturday morning, an official said after the second such operation in the past 24 hours.

A day after the killing of three Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists in Kulgam, security forces acted on information about the presence of terrorists in Amshipora village and launched an operation, officials said. The terrorists fired upon the forces, drawing retaliation.

An official said the operation was jointly conducted by the army, police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). “As the search-and-cordon operation was underway, it turned into an encounter…three unidentified militants were killed. The militants fired from a cowshed of a house located in an orchard,’’ an army spokesperson said.

Officials said they are trying to identify the terrorists and DNA samples have already been collected. Three JeM terrorists, including a Pakistani commander identified as Waleed, were killed in Kulgam district on Friday. Police said Waleed, believed to be an IED expert, had been active in the area for the past 18 months. In the last three months, due to Covid-19, bodies of terrorists killed in gun battles, including that of locals, are not handed over to their family members. They are buried in Baramulla, Kupwara and Ganderbal in the presence of family members.

Security forces have stepped up offensive against terrorists in the Kashmir Valley. In June, forces killed 48 terrorists in various encounters; most of them in south Kashmir. Since January, 136 militants have been killed in different encounters across Kashmir. The J&K Police neutralised 162 terrorists in 2019.

Among the major successes of security forces this year is the killing of Riyaz Naikoo, a top commander of local group Hizbul Mujahideen, in an operation in Beighpora in May. Top police officials say fresh recruitment by terrorists has come down in the first six months of the year.

India protests civilian deaths

India on Saturday summoned the charge d’affaires of the Pakistan high commission to lodge a strong protest over the death of three civilians in firing by Pakistani troops along LoC.

The Pakistani charge d’affaires was told three civilians, including a child, were killed and another child was injured in an unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistani forces in Krishna Ghati sector in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday night. The dead belonged to the same family.

“India condemns, in the strongest terms, the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians by Pakistan forces,” the statement said. It called upon Pakistan to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire for maintaining peace and tranquillity along the LoC.

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