This Article is From Sep 29, 2019

1 Of Most Wanted Hizbul Terrorists Among 3 Killed In J&K Encounter

Jammu and Kashmir encounter: Two encounters and one grenade attack have been reported from Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.

Jammu and Kashmir encounter: Three terrorists who took a hostage in Ramban were shot dead

New Delhi:

Three terrorists, including a top Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, were shot dead after they took a civilian hostage in Jammu and Kashmir's Ramban district, the police said on Saturday. The hostage was rescued after a nearly nine-hour-long standoff, during which an Army soldier lost his life. 

The Army soldier who died was identified as Naik Rajendra Singh from Jaisalmer.

"We have killed three terrorists in the gunfight, which has ended. One soldier was also killed in action," Army spokesperson in Jammu region Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand told news agency Press Trust of India.

"Two policemen were injured in the rescue operation," Jammu Inspector General of Police Mukesh Singh told news agency ANI.

The terrorists have been identified as Osama and his associates Zahid and Farooq. Osama was the brain behind several sensational incidents including the killings of senior BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar on November 1, 2018 and RSS functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO on April 9, officials said.

This was the first of the two encounters and one grenade attack that were reported from Jammu and Kashmir Saturday morning.

The encounter in Batote in Ramban district started around 12:30 pm when the three terrorists tried to stop a passenger bus on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

Sources said the bus driver on seeing the terrorists, who came wearing Indian military battledress, hit the accelerator and sped away. Then he informed the police, following which the security forces surrounded the area and launched a search operation, sources said.

"I heard two explosions," an eyewitness told NDTV.

Heavy rain in the area made the search operation difficult, the sources said, adding the three terrorists entered a house and took the hostage. They fired at the security forces and threw grenades before entering the house.

The security forces advanced with extreme caution to avoid collateral damage before the hostage was rescued, the sources said. The terrorists were told to surrender before they were shot dead, sources said.

The second encounter broke out in the upper reaches of Ganderbal, bordering Gurez, which is near the Line of Control (LoC). A terrorist was shot dead, the Army's Northern Command tweeted.

It is suspected the terrorist who was shot dead could be part of a larger group that infiltrated into India from Gurez side since it's near the LoC.

The third incident was reported from downtown Srinagar, where terrorists threw a grenade at a sparsely populated neighbourhood. No one was injured in the attack. There were few people on the road as restrictions were back in the area, sources said. The police were trying to find out the target of the grenade attack as the area was mostly deserted, sources said.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who visited Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, has asked the state police and the paramilitary forces to intensify anti-terror operations amid reports of a large number of terrorists waiting to infiltrate into India.

This was Mr Doval's second visit to Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, when the government scrapped special status to the state under Article 370 and divided it into two Union Territories. He had been crisscrossing the state and meeting with security forces and civilians to get a pulse of what was happening on the ground. In some photos released by the government, he was seen having a meal with locals.

Restrictions have been removed from all 22 districts in Jammu and Kashmir, state-run Doordarshan News reported. However, sources said restrictions in downtown Srinagar continue after the grenade attack.

With inputs from PTI