One militant was killed as two separate encounters broke out between militants and security forces on Wednesday in the Anantnag and Bandipora districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Encounters in both the places were underway till filing of this report.

A Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, identified as Gulzar Ganai (20), was killed deep in the woods of Bandipora after troops of 14 Rashtriya Rifles and police working on leads provided by three overground workers engaged in a gunbattle with a freshly infiltrated group near the Line of Control (LoC).

“Killed militant has been identified as Gulzar Ahmad Ganai resident of Wussan Pattan, Baramulla,” a tweet quoting Inspector General of Police Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar said.

“He (had) exfiltrated in year 2018 and remained there for 3 years & 6 months before infiltrating back in the last week of April,” it said.

Kumar did not elaborate how the militant had crossed over to Pakistan through the porous LoC or used travel documents. However, he said that two more militants were part of the group. In an earlier tweet, he said a militant has been killed and an AK rifle and three magazines were recovered. “The killed militant was a part of the newly infiltrated militant group. Search for other 02 militants is in progress,” the IGP maintained.

Police sources had said they had picked up three OGWs and their interrogation led them to the militants. The search in several villages is ongoing, although as per procedure, gunfights are halted after dark.

In another gunfight that has been raging for several hours, two militants are holding on to their positions after they traded fire with a joint party of police and army in Marhama village of Anantnag district. The place is not far off the Dooru where two Lashkar militants were killed on Tuesday.

In the last 30 hours, three gunfights have taken place in the valley. The encounters in South Kashmir are disturbing signs for the security forces ahead of the annual Amarnath yatra in Jammu and Kashmir. This year, unprecedented security is in place for the pilgrimage.

Through security forces faced a barrage of firing in the initial few minutes, there was a lull when the darkness fell. Like in Bandipore, here too the operation is stalled till Thursday sunrise.

At least 72 militants including 19 foreigners have been killed this year. In the last few weeks, there has been increasing activity on the India-Pakistan boundary. An attack by Pakistan-based militants in Jammu’s Sunjwan followed by detection of an underground tunnel near the International Border and a few infiltration bids along the LoC in both the North and South of Pir Panjal range indicates a change of tactics by Pakistan especially after the change of regime.

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