The Indian Army killed 10 terrorists including Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat in 36 hours, adopting an aggressive counter strategy on both the Line of Control and Kashmir Valley against Pakistan-backed jihadis.
The most important of the kills made by the Army in concert with state police and Special Operations Group was that of Sabzar, who was believed to be the successor of Burhan Wani- the slain Hizbul commander who had a large social media following and was credited with reviving militancy in Kashmir. Burhan was eliminated by the Army in a similar encounter last year.
Sabzar was seen as the brain behind the rising influence of local Hizbul men in the Valley and was considered a Category A terrorist by security forces.
The Army started the operations in Tral area of south Kashmir as it had gathered specific intelligence about the presence of two to three militants hiding inside a village house there. Sources said the mechanism of gathering both technical and human intelligence has improved significantly in the past few months with the increased involvement of central agencies such as the NTRO.
According to sources, an extensive cordon was laid down by the security forces from late Friday evening. “The terrorists kept themselves hidden inside a house and contact could be established only at 8.15 am on Saturday. Within a couple of hours, both the terrorists were eliminated by the men of 42 Rashtriya Rifles (Assam Regiment),” they added.
Another accomplice of Sabzar, Faizan Muzaffar Bhat, was also killed in the encounter. Faizan too was a Category A terrorist and was high on the list of security forces. However, to prevent Sabzar from becoming another “martyr” like Burhan, authorities snapped internet services as terrorist sympathisers had started gathering on the streets.
“We have adopted a policy in the hinterland to eliminate the existing terrorists and stop their recruitment to make it difficult for Pakistan to sustain terrorism in the Valley,” Army sources said. “On the LoC, we have adopted an aggressive policy to proactively stop infiltration and are launching attacks on any suspicious activity close to our territory.”
With this policy, the Army reaped success in the Rampur operations as based on intelligence inputs, personnel from the 4 Garhwal Rifles laid an ambush against a terrorist infiltration party 500 metres inside Indian territory on Friday evening. “They were shot down in close to three hours. Six bodies have been recovered along with four AK-47 rifles, two UBGLs and heavy ammunition,” the sources said.
The Udhampur-based Northern Command said it was carrying out “relentless operations to thwart Pakistan’s attempts to boost terror activities across the LoC” as its troops eliminated two members of Pak Army’s Border Action Team in Uri sector.
Army troops also eliminated four infiltrators in the Naugam sector. The force has intensified its presence in the violence-racked Valley.
Top Army sources said after killing Sabzar and Faizan, the force would continue its aggressive operational tempo against other terrorist leaders and won’t let them see the coming winter.
Source- India Today