A massive offensive has been launched by troops against the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants in Valley since killing of 40 CRPF men in 14 February suicide bombing on paramilitary forces bus at Lethpora in Pulwama.
Since the suicide attack, forces have conducted at least four major anti-militancy operations across the JeM militants in valley.
At least 10 JeM militants have been killed in four encounters—one each at Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian in south Kashmir and Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Among the deceased JeM militants is Kamran, a Pakistani, who was outfit’s operational commander in Kashmir.
Kamran was killed along with two other associates—a local and a Pakistani Rashid Gazi— in a 16-hour long gun battle at Pinglena, Pulwama on 18 February.
Four Army men including Major V S Dhondial and a cop Abdul Rashid were also killed in the encounter while two top officers’ including Brigadier Harbir Singh and Deputy Inspector General of Police south Kashmir Amit Kumar were among nine injured in the gunfight. Kumar is presently undergoing treatment at AIIMS in New Delhi. A civilian was also killed in Pinglena gunfight.
After Pinglena, forces killed two more Jaish militants during an encounter in Warpora area of Sopore on 22 February.
A senior police officer said they recovered three weapons and two bodies’ of militants from the site of the gunfight.
“Three weapons were recovered and as of now we can say only two militants were killed. But, we have taken the samples for forensic examination that would established whether only two or three militants were killed in the gunfight,” he said.
Two days after Sopore gunfight, another operation was launched by troops against JeM militants at Turigam village in Pulwama on 24 February.
A deputy superintendent of Police Aman Thakur and an Army man were killed in the gunfight. Three JeM militants including two Pakistani nationals and a local were also killed in the gunfight.
On February 27, two JeM militants — a local and a foreigner — were killed in a gunfight with forces in the orchards of Memander village in Shopian district. However, unlike Pinglena and Turigam anti-militancy operations, there was no forces casualty in the gunfight.
According to a security official, JeM militants are well trained and are giving tough fight to security forces during the gunfights.
“The JeM militants, who infiltrate from Pakistan, are well trained in handling of arms than the local militants,” he said.
The Jaish known for carrying out Fidayeen attacks regrouped itself and its resurgence is posing a challenge for forces operating in the valley.
A top security officer said they are going after every militant whether he is from Lashkar, Jaish or Hizb.
“Our operations against militants will continue,” he said.
The Jaish took the front stage after troops inflicted heavy casualties to Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba following launch of “Operation All Out” in 2017.
Sources said JeM was regrouping and the group has around 50 active cadres in the valley.
At least 38 militants many of them from JeM have been killed in various encounters with troops in the hinterland in last two months.