The GOC 15 Corps Lt General A K Bhatt, DGP S P Vaid and IG CRPF Zulfiqar Hassan on Sunday termed the killing of 11 militants in three separate gunfights as ‘major victory.’
“Today is a very special day. We are all glad that our forces have successfully managed to kill a large group of militants in three separate gunfights in southern Kashmir. This is probably the biggest strike on the militants in a decade,” they said at a joint press conference at Awantipora.
The GoC warned that ongoing operations against militants would continue despite mass protests and stone pelting incidents near gunfight sites.
“It has become a recent trend in the valley particularly in Shopian to rush towards the gunfight sites. On one side heavily armed militants are attacking forces and on the other mob violence erupts. Under the situation anyone can get killed.
“We request youth not to get carried away by Pakistani proxies. We want to tell them to shun this violence and join the mainstream,” GoC Bhatt said.
Two militants among those killed today were involved in the killing of army officer lieutenant Umar Fayaz. After his killing in May last year, we were desperately waiting to avenge the death of our beloved officer,” he added.
The DGP said: “The search operations were launched on late Saturday night after inputs about presence of a large group of militants in Dragad and Kachdoora villages of Shopian district. It was difficult for forces to combat the militants in darkness but the operation went successful.”
He said the gunfight began on Saturday night and by Sunday morning all the militants were killed in Dragad while the operation prolonged in Kachdoora till Sunday evening.
“In Dialgam gunfight we gave the militants enough time to surrender,” the DGP said, adding that repeated requests were made by Anantnag SSP asking the holed up militants to surrender, who did not. “Later one was killed while another was caught alive.”
Vaid said that he is pained at civilian deaths. “It is painful to see that we lose our young lives.”