‘Maintained sanctity of religious place’, says Police after militants in Pampore entered mosque

Patience and professionalism worked. No use of firing and IED. Used tear smoke shells only: IGP

In a video statement shared by Police, the Imam can be heard praising the police for restraining the army from damaging the mosque. 

Srinagar: After eight militants were killed in two separate gunfights in the last 24 hours in Shopian and Pampore, the armed forces have said that the militants in Pampore entered a mosque, after which the operation was delayed.

Five militants were killed in the gunfight that raged in Shopian, while three others were killed in Pampore, Pulwama.

The three militants killed in Pampore gunfight were identified by the police as Irshad Ahmad Dar, Shahnawaz Ahmed and Faisal Baba. All three of them were associated with Lashkar-e Taiba and hailed from Pulwama.

Irshad, as per reports, is the same militant who could be seen in a viral video emerging alive from rubble of house damaged in a gunfight in Budgam.

Armed forces had launched a cordon and search operation at Meej in Pampore area of Pulwama in South Kashmir on Thursday morning after receiving specific information about the presence of militants in the area, a police official said.

He said the search operation turned into a gunfight after militants fired upon a search party of the forces.

One militant was killed in the gunfight on Thursday, while two others entered a nearby mosque to take refuge inside it, the official said.

He said the cordon around the mosque was maintained throughout the night.

On Friday morning, the forces used tear smoke shells to force the militants out of the mosque, the officials said, adding, “the two were then killed by the forces while maintaining the sanctity of the religious place”.

The police also released the statement of the Imam of the mosque where he can be heard praising the police for restraining the army from damaging the mosque.

Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, said no firing or IED was used to force the militants out of the mosque.

“Patience and professionalism worked. No use of firing and IED. Used tear smoke shells only. Maintained sanctity of the mosque. Both terrorists hiding inside mosque neutralised,” the IGP said.

The identities of the five militants killed in Shopian were revealed by the police and the families have identified them.

Those identified included Nadeemul Zaman Malik of Zainpora, Mohsin Yousuf Wani of Ayand, Shakir Shafi Shah of Keegam, and Jahangir Malik of Achan, Pulwama, and Aadil Hussain Pal, of Nalder, Shopian.

Jahangir, Nadeemul, and Shakir were associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen while Mohsin and Aadil were associated with Lashkar-e Taiba.

Jahangir and Aadil were active for more than two years, while others had joined their respective outfits this year only.

Shakir was aged 17 and his family had appealed for him to come back home. However in a counter video, Shakir had said that if the militants do not allow him to join, he would be forced to snatch a weapon from the armed forces.

The families of the militants have been called for the burial in Sheeri.

Meanwhile, another operation at Munand-Bandpava area of Shopian, which also began on Thursday, continued on Friday, officials said. Mobile Internet has been also suspended in Shopian district as a “precautionary measure”.

22 militants have been killed only in the Shopian district this month so far.


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