Soldier who joined militants killed in security raid

Sultan deserted the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry regiment and joined Hizbul Mujahideen in April this year

New Delhi: Two militants, including a deserter from the Indian army who had later joined militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), were on Tuesday killed in an encounter with security forces in Jammu & Kashmir’s Shopian district.

The deserter Idrees Sultan, also known as Chota Abrar, was a resident of Shopian and had become the poster boy of militancy in Kashmir Valley. He was in his early 20s.

Sultan deserted the Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry regiment and joined Hizbul Mujahideen in April this year. The other slain militant, Amir Hussain Rather, is also from Shopian.

Three youths from Shopian, including Sultan, had become militants after the April 1 gunfight in the district in which 12 militants and four civilians were killed.

Early on Tuesday morning, security forces launched a pre-dawn cordon and search operation after getting “specific inputs” about the presence of Sultan in Zainapora village in Shopian.

“As the search operation was going on, the terrorists who were hiding fired at the search party. Security forces retaliated, leading to an encounter. The two militants, particularly Idrees Sultan, were involved in terror attacks on security establishments and many other civilian atrocities in the area,” Indian army said in a statement.

However, unlike earlier instances of encounter between government forces and militants, there was no collateral damage in Tuesday’s operation.

“With the killing of Idrees Sultan, we are hopeful that nobody in future follows his path,” the army said.

The police asked locals not to venture inside the encounter zone since the area could be dangerous due to stray explosive materials.

“Mostly people run to sites of encounter and lose [their lives]. Today we requested them to cooperate with police until the area was completely sanitised and cleared of all the explosives materials,” Jammu & Kashmir Police said in a separate statement.

Some weapons and other incriminating material were also recovered from the site of encounter.

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