The Jammu and Kashmir Police said Ansar Gazwatul Hind (AGH) chief, Imtiyaz Shah, was among the seven militants killed in two separate encounters that took place in South Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama district on Friday.
While addressing a press conference in Srinagar, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said that two militants including Imtiyaz Shah had fled from the Shopian encounter site after throwing grenades during the initial cordon and were killed in a separate encounter at the Nowbugh area of Tral in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.
Kumar said the Shopian operation posed great difficulty as militants took shelter in a local masjid.
The militants were provided enough opportunity to surrender but they refused, which led to their death in the encounter.
General officer Commanding (GoC) of Srinagar based 15 Corps Lieutenant General D P Pandey said that the army is working on a two-pronged strategy in Kashmir that aims to prevent local militant recruitment and to squeeze the network of Over Ground Workers and end radicalization of youth through social media.
He said anyone who picks up arms against the state will not be let off. Local militants will get an option to surrender but if they refuse, they would be killed.
The IGP said that in the Shopian operation, all SoPs were followed.
Family members of the militants were called to the local Imam Masjid where the militants were hiding to persuade them and surrender, however, they refused and in the ensuing gunfight, five militants were killed—two from Hizbul Mujahideen, one from LeT, and two from AGH.
The IGP said they have recovered seven AK rifles, two pistols from the militants.
The IGP identified the militants killed in Shopian encounter as Muzamil Tantry, Adil Lone, Younis Ahmed Khanday and Basit Bhat.
All of them had joined militancy last year in different months. The IGP said one of the slain militants of the Tral gunfight was identified as Imtiyaz Shah, the chief of AGH, who was active since April 2019.