Indian armed forces on Thursday claimed to have achieved major success after the most wanted commander of Lashkar-e-Toiba along with two other militants were slain in a fierce gun battle in Baramulla.
Police said that the slain LeT commander Yousuf Kantroo figured in the list of top 10 most wanted militants in Kashmir and he was the longest surviving militant in the Valley.
In the encounter, four soldiers including an officer sustained injuries, police said.
A police officer said that acting on specific information, a special team of police along with the Army launched a joint cordon and search operation in Malwah area of Baramulla.
“During the search operation as the joint search party reached the suspected spot, the hiding militants fired indiscriminately upon them in which four soldiers including one officer received injuries,” the official said, adding that “the fire was retaliated leading to an encounter.
Later on, Baramulla Police headed by SSP Baramulla also joined in the operation. One policeman from Baramulla district also got injured in encounter who was later on shifted to Army’s base hospital in Srinagar.”
The official said that in the encounter, three militants including the most wanted commander of LeT Yousuf Kantroo, who was one of the longest surviving militants, were killed. “Their bodies have been retrieved,” the official said.
“Kantroo earlier joined as an OGW of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit and was arrested in the year 2005. Later on, he was released in the year 2008 but he again joined militant rank in the year 2017 and started killing policemen and pro-India political workers. Later on, he switched from Hizb to Lashkar outfit.”
Police said that the identification of the other two slain militants was being ascertained.
Police said that as per police records, the slain militants were categorized as part of groups involved in several attacks.
Police said that Kantroo was involved in dozens of killings including that of SPO Mohd Ishfaq Dar and his brother Umer Ahmad Dar resident of Chatabugh Budgam on 26/03/2022, the killing of BDC Chairman Sardar Bhupinder Singh on 23/9/20 in his own native place in Khag, killing of NC Block president at Natipora Chanapora Srinagar and dozens of other incidents.
In addition to this, police said that the slain Kantroo was also involved in recruiting youth into militancy folds including the recruitment of Faisal Hafeez Dar of Aaripanth Magam into militant ranks.
A police official said that an 18-year-old militant identified as Faisal Hafiz was also trapped in the area. His family had been brought to the encounter site by forces in a bid to persuade him to lay down his arms.