Two Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, including the mastermind of last month’s major attack on J&K police, were killed in a gunfight with security forces at Dialgam, in Anantnag district of south Kashmir, on Saturday.
Two people, including a 44-year-old woman, who tried to rescue the terrorists by disrupting the operation, were also killed in retaliatory gunfire by security forces.
Lashkar mastermind Bashir Lashkari was involved in the June 17 ambush in Achabal area in which six policemen, including station house officer Feroz Dar, were killed last month, director general of police S P Vaid said. The corpses of the policemen were mutilated. Lashkari carried a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on his head.
Accompanied by another terrorist, Ajaz Ahmad Malik of Arwani, Lashkari had taken shelter in a house in a new residential area between Ganai Bagh and Dreenth in Dialgam area on Friday night. The locality has only a few houses, police said.
After receiving specific information about their presence, security forces laid a cordon in the early hours of Saturday, police said. As news of the cordon spread, dozens of villagers came out to protest, pelting stones on the forces. The terrorists also fired at the security personnel.
Police said the terrorists tried to use the villagers as human shields. In the retaliatory fire by the security forces, one woman, Tahira Akhtar, was hit with a bullet. She later succumbed to her injuries. Another civilian, Shahdab Ahmad, was killed while pelting stones.
The owners of the house were also stranded but the security forces evacuated them, along with 17 other civilians, safely. Forces had to blast the house and raze it to ground after the terrorists refused to surrender, police said.
Following the killing of Lashkari, hundreds of villagers started marching towards his native village of Sof Shali in Kokernag. Sources said Lashkari had crossed over to Pakistan through the Line of Control in 2001. After returning, he was arrested several times and released subsequently.
He ran a small-time barbeque shop at a bus stand. He rejoined Lashkar in October 2015. Categorised as an A++ terrorist, Lashkari was the outfit’s commander in Anantnag district, police said.