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Hizb’s divisional commander Junaid Sehrai killed in Srinagar encounter says J&K DGP

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Wahid Bhat | Srinagar

Director General of J&K police Dilbagh Singh Tuesday said that the one of the two slain militants of Nawa Kadal encounter have been identified as Hizbul Mujahideen’s divisional commander for Central Kashmir Junaid Sehrai, the son of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai.

Police have identified the second slain militant as Tariq Ahmed Sheikh from Pulwama district of South Kashmir. Sehrai is from Hyderpora area of Srinagar. He originally hails from Kuwpara district. At present, his father is living and was living in Hyderpora area of Srinagar.

Addressing press conference in Srinagar, DGP Singh said that in the operation that started last night at Nawa Kadal area and culminated this afternoon, Hizbul Mujahideen’s divisional commander for Central Kashmir Junaid Sehrai was killed. “Sehrai was assigned the task of heading Central Kashmir areas,” he said.

The DGP said while replying to a query what were the two slain militants doing in Srinagar, he said that they were tasked to lure youth into militancy and for grenade throwing. “Sehrai would hold meetings with the youth and lure them towards militancy,” he said. His associate Tariq was active in Pulwama and Shopian districts.

The DGP said that Nawa Kadal operation was a clean one as only one residential house caught fire which was controlled immediately. “The first thing we did in the morning was to evacuate the inmates. In that process, two forces personnel—one from CRPF and another from J&KP’s SoG were injured. In the final assault, the remaining militant hurled a grenade in which two CRPF men sustained injured but all the injured are stable,” he said.

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Asked how many militants are active in Srinagar, the DGP said that number keeps on floating and in entire Central Kashmir, the number is just 14. About the total active militants in Kashmir at present, he said the number is far less than the last year.

“Not more than 240 militants are active in Kashmir,” he said, adding that 73 militants were killed this year so far and 95 militants and their associates were arrested.

As per the data available, in the rapid anti-terror operations launched by Jammu and Kashmir’s security grid in Kashmir this year, the terror outfits suffered a major blow as it lost its 22 terrorists, with latest being Riyaz Naikoo.

The month of April turned out to be extremely deadly for these militant. A data compiled by the Jammu and Kashmir Police stated that a total of 69 militant, associated with various outfits, have been killed in Kashmir since January 2020 in the anti-terror operations launched by security agencies.

Of the 69 militant, identification of 20 could not be done. It is believed that at least 20 foreign terrorists, who managed to sneak into this side of the Line of Control early last year, were eliminated by security forces in various encounter operations.

Out of the total 69 militant, 18 died in the Jammu region while 47 were killed in Kashmir. The official record states that all 20 local terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen, six of Lashkar-e-Toiba, 11 of Jaish-e-Mohammad, 3 of Ansar Gazwat and three of Islamic State were neutralised by security forces.

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This comes as a huge blow to the proscribed militant outfit after their commander Riyaz Naikoo was killed in a operation codenamed ‘Jackboot’, after the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016.

Naikoo carried a bounty of Rs 12 lakh and was active for over eight years in the twin districts Pulwama and Shopian in South Kashmir. He was involved several criminal cases, such as attacking civilians, migrant labourers and security personnel.

Following Naikoo’s killing, the outfit appointed Saifullah Mir as their new leader in the Valley. The 26-year-old Mir hails from Malangpora are in Pulwama and was reportedly radicalised by Naikoo, who also gave him the alias Ghazi Haider.