The Jammu and Kashmir police and army have managed to neutralise the ‘second most wanted militant commander’ of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant group, Dawood Ahmed Sheikh, in an overnight encounter in Buchroo village of south Kashmir in Kulgam district.
The killing of the Hizb man is part of a continued effort by Kashmir police and army to eliminate Hizb-ul-Mujahideen group from south Kashmir.
Dawood, 21, was a resident of Qaimoh village of Kulgam, and was active in the area for the past three years. He was, according to police, a close aid of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, who is widely held responsible for a renewed face of insurgency in the valley.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police south Kashmir, Nitish Kumar, told Firstpost that Dawood was involved in the killing of head constable Gowher Ahmad Matoo of Army and Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, a National Conference Sarpanch, in 2014.
“He was also involved in the killing of Retd SP Bashir Ahmad Dar of Ashumji, Kulgam,” Kumar told Firstpost.
The security forces had cordoned off Buchroo village, late on Sunday evening, after receiving inputs regarding presence of militants in the area. The army, along with police’s Special Operations Group, were part of the operation that lasted for more than fourteen hours.
Source said Dawood was ‘A++ category militant’ and was an area commander of the Hizb in Kulgam district.
Dawood, according to police, was a known stone pelter in the area and was questioned by Kashmir police on many occasion. Before becoming a militant in 2014, he was detained by the Special Operations Group of the Kashmir police in 2014, but released.
Mumtaz Ahmad, superintendent of police (Kulgam), said Dawood was killed in the initial round of gunfire exchanged between militants and forces in Buchroo.
"He has been active for the past three years and was among the most wanted militants in Kashmir,” Ahmad said.
Thousands of people in Kulgam joined his funeral procession. Security forces had to use tear gas shells and fire in the air to disperse the crowd of protesters who were trying to reach the encounter site to help the militants escape.
Three days ago, security forces had killed three Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants after a nightlong encounter in Dadsara village of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
As the village was cordoned off and gunshots were heard, scores of youth came out on the roads and started throwing stones at the forces to help the militants escape.
There has been increase in intelligence specific operations against militants in recent months in which nearly 20 militants have been killed in past three months.
Most of the militants killed in these operation were local cadres of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. They were neutralised in south Kashmir district, which has emerged as the new flesh point between counterinsurgency grid and militants.