As many as nine terrorists have been killed in six encounters in the last six days after security forces intensified counterterrorism operations in the aftermath of targeted killings of minority civilians in Kashmir. Apart from the major success in the form of top Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commander Shamim Ahmed Sofi’ killing, eight other terrorists: Aqib Bashir Kumar; Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar; Yawar Gani Dar; Danish Hussain Dar; Yawar Hassan Naikoo; Mukhtar Ahmad Shah; Khubaib Ahmad Nengroo; and Ubaid Ahmad Dar have been neutralised so far.
The intensification of counter-terrorist operations comes after Union home minister Amit Shah on October 7 directed the security forces and intelligence agencies to neutralise the threat from Pakistan-based terrorist groups in Kashmir. Shah pitched for firm action as the Hindu and Sikh killings in Kashmir were designed to spread terror within minority communities who wanted to come back to the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A.
The security agencies have identified their affiliations either with Pakistan-based JeM, Lashkar-e-Taiba, or local terror modules like Hizbul Mujahideen and The Resistance Front, both backed by Pakistani terror groups.
Also Read | With Shameen Sofi killing, Pulwama massacre heads for closure
Danish Hussain Dar, who was a close friend of active militants Afaq Sikander Lone and Ubaid Ahmad Dar, disappeared on June 20, 2021, weeks before the targeted killings started in the Valley. He was affiliated with LeT. Dar had fired upon a civilian at Chatergam Shopian in which the person got critically injured.
Aqib Bashir Kumar, a local terrorist affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed in Srinagar’s Natipora locality last week. Aqib Bashir Kumar left his home in November 2020 and didn’t return back, prompting his parents to lodge a missing report two days later. The Hizbul terrorist was involved in a grenade attack on a CRPF party at Chanpora in which personnel and one civilian were critically injured. He was also involved in motivating the Kashmiri youth to join ranks in the terror outfit.
Initially a stone pelter, Yawar Hassan Naikoo was arrested in 2015 and was released after 15 days in detention. He went missing in December 2020 after which his father lodged a report with Shopian police. Reports suggest that Naikoo was motivated by local terrorists and managed his induction in Hizbul Mujahideen. He was killed in Shopian on Tuesday.
Ubaid Ahmad Dar, a TRF recruit, was said to be a close friend of Aafaq Sikander Lone who took the path of militancy in December last year. He disappeared in February this year and joined the LeT offshoot. Accused of attacking a police party at Manzgam area of Kulgam in which two police personnel got critically injured, Dar was also neutralised on Tuesday in at Ferripora Shopian.