Srinagar, June 22 (IANS) Six people, including the IS chief in the Kashmir Valley and three of his associates, were killed and over 30 injured in separate incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, even as security officials for the first time confirmed presence of the Islamist terror group in the state.
State Director General of Police (DGP) S.P. Vaid confirmed that four terrorists killed after a gunfight in Anantnag district were of the Islamic State (IS).
“The slain terrorists were reportedly affiliated to Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK),” he said in a tweet.
On its website in 2017, the Islamic State had said that its Indian affiliate, Ansar Gazwatul Hind, was being headed by Zakir Musa, a Kashmiri militant commander.
With days left before the Amarnath Yatra begins, security forces laid a cordon around the Khiram village in Srigufwara area of Anantnag district following specific information about the presence of the militants.
“As the cordon was tightened, the militants, hiding in a house, fired at the security personnel, triggering the gunfight,” a police officer said.
The four militants killed have been identified as ISJK chief Dawood Salfi alias Burhan from HMT area of Srinagar, Majeed Manzoor from Talangam village in Pulwama, Adil Hassan Mir and Ashraf Itoo, both from Srigufwara itself.
A member of the Jammu and Kashmir’s Special Operations Group (SOG) was also killed during the operation, while three other security personnel were injured, police said.
The other fatality was one of the house owners, who also came in the line of fire. While Muhammad Yusuf was killed, his wife Hafeeza sustained a gunshot injury. She was shifted to a hospital for treatment, police said.
Vaid said: “The bodies of the slain terrorists can be seen inside the house where they were hiding. We are retrieving the bodies.”
Earlier, dozens of youth started throwing stones at the security forces near the site of the gunfight as the gun battle progressed. Over 20 protesters were injured in the clashes.
Clashes also erupted in Pulwama town and HMT area of Srinagar from where two of the four slain militants belonged.
Authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in all four south Kashmir districts and in Srinagar to check the spread of any kind of rumours.
In another incident, eight security personnel including local policemen and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were injured when militants hurled a grenade and then resorted to firing at a police patrol party in Tral town of Pulwama.
Meanwhile, Governor N.N.Vohra on Friday visited Baltal base camp of Amarnath Yatra to take stock of the arrangements for this year’s Yatra which begins on June 28.