After an encounter between security forces and militants in Lone Mohalla of Rawalpora village in Shopian district in south Kashmir is littered with ash houses, half-burnt clothes and a pile of burnt cattle.
In the same settlement, local militant Wilayat Lone alias Sajjad Afghani was killed along with his colleague Jahangir Ahmed after a three-day bloody clash with the forces. Many residential houses, village houses and other properties were reduced to ashes during the clash.
Vijay Kumar, IGP, described Wilayat’s death as a major victory for the forces. This is the first time in the last few years that an operation against two armed militants lasted for three days, during which police, army and paramilitary forces laid siege to a large area.
Police said that the siege was carried out after receiving a tip-off about the presence of Wilayat Lone in his ancestral home.
According to locals, heavy firing and mortar shells were used during the clash. The clash was so fierce that the residents of Lone Mohalla are still in fear and shock. Police, the operation ended on Tuesday afternoon.
Ghulam Mohammad’s house is also among the five houses destroyed in the military operation. He says ‘While saving our lives, all 13 people in our house hid in the kitchen and our ears were pierced by the sound of bullets and mortar shells throughout the night. When the situation worsened, the army and police evacuated us the next morning and shifted us to another house.
Ghulam Mohammad says at least half a dozen houses have been reduced to ashes, including Wilayat Lone’s house. According to police, Wilayat Lone has been active in the armed forces for the past three years.
Police say Wilayat first became associated with Jaish-e-Muhammad and later with Lashkar-e-Taiba. According to police, Wilayat was a wanted militant for the forces.
Ghulam Mohammad said his two-storey house and village house were completely destroyed, while four sheep and a cow were also burnt in the mortar fire.
Ghulam Mohammad, who was trapped in the same room with his parents, wife, three children and other members of the family during the night firing, says: ‘It took us a while and we will all burn to death. Then we called DC Sahib and SP Sahib, thankfully they picked up the phone and with the help of army and police got us out of the house during the clash.
After several people were injured in the clash, local police to disperse the protests and protesters used tears gas and iron shrapnel as a result.
Tajuddin, a businessman from Shopian, said the government often does not compensate for the damage to civilian property caused by such clashes.
Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief Dilbagh Singh said that now There are also at least 200 militants active in Kashmir.