All 13 militants killed in J&K encounter were local youths, say police

With the Jammu and Kashmir police identifying the five militants killed at Kachdora village of Shopian, all the 13 militants killed on Sunday turned out to be local youths. While 12 of them had joined militancy in the past one-and-a-half years, one joined the militant ranks three years ago.

The five militants killed at Kachdora were identified as Ishfaq Ahmad Thoker and Gayas-ul-Islam Thoker, residents of Padderpora village in Shopian, Sameer Ahmad Lone of Hilow village, Aetimad Hussain Dar of Amshipora village in Shopian, and Aqib Bashir Malik, a resident of Ringeth village in the neighbouring Kulgam district.

The five militants were buried on Monday, with thousands of villagers participating in their funeral processions and militants offering gun salute at two places.

Police say two of the five militants — Ishfaq and Gayas — killed at Kachdora were wanted in connection with the killing of Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, who was killed by militants last year while on vacation.

Ishfaq was commanding Hizbul Mujahideen in and around Padderpora, his native village. Categorised as A+ by the police, Ishfaq dropped out of school after Class VIII and was helping his family with farming before joining the militant ranks three years ago.

Gayas was in the first year of a Bachelor’s programme when he dropped out of college to join the militants last year. Police records show that he was classified as a Category ‘C’ militant and belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen.

Aietimad had completed his MPhil from Hyderabad and had been a militant for less than five months. Police had categorised him as a category ‘C’ militant.

Sameer, a resident of Hillow village in Imamsahib Shopian, joined militants on February 27 this year. Police say he had joined Hizbul Mujahideen and was classified as a Category ‘C’ militant.

Aqib, 20, a resident of Ringeth village in Kulgam, was studying in the first year of his Bachelor’s course. In October last year, he went missing only to resurface on social media with a gun. He was classified as Category ‘C’ militant in police records.

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