A 14-year-old boy was among three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists killed in an 18-hour-long encounter, which also left four security men and three civilians injured at Mujgund on the outskirts of Srinagar on Sunday.
The victims were identified as minor Mudasir Rashid Parray, Saqib Mushtaq and Ali Bhai, a Pakistani national. The injured security personnel – an Army jawan, two cops and a CRPF man – were admitted to a hospital. A senior police officer said that a joint team of the Special Operations Group (SOG), CRPF, and Army had launched a search and cordon operation on Saturday on the house where the three were hiding, leading to a fierce gunfight.
While two terrorists were killed on the same day, the operation was suspended due to darkness and resumed on Sunday morning. Mudasir was a Class 9 student, who went missing from his house in Bandirpora’s Hajin town, with his school senior, Bilal Ahmad, a Class 11 student on August 29. It was the same day when his neighbourhood saw the encounter of three Pakistani terrorists in an anti-terror operation.
His mother Fareeda Begum said Mudasir, before leaving home, told them he was going to school but did not return. The family filed a missing report in a police station and began a search for him, but they could not trace the teenager for the next few months. It was only on November 29 when a picture went viral on social media with Mudasir holding an AK-47 and a dagger that his family got to know he was alive.
Soon after the photo surfaced online, Fareeda took to social media to appeal to her son to “shun the path of terrorism and come back home”. She asked the terror outfits to ensure his safe return as his father was “an ailing man”, who could not make ends meet. Fareed has two other children – a daughter and a hearing-impaired son.
According to police, Mudasir had no criminal records before joining the terror outfit, although he had been a part of stone-pelting crowds on some occasions. The other terrorists were wanted in several terror cases. Sources said at least six houses in the locality were gutted as the terrorists kept changing their location. ADGP law & order Munir Khan said, “On Saturday, forces tried to persuade the terrorists to come out and surrender but instead they fired on the forces, triggering an encounter.”
After news of the encounter spread on Sunday, violent clashes erupted in Hajin with people pelting stones at security forces. Protesters chanted pro-Azadi and anti-India slogans but were dispersed after police resorted to teargas shells and lathi charge. Authorities have suspended mobile internet services in Bandipora and Srinagar districts as a precautionary measure.
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