A militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba surrendered before security forces during an encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district while two of his associates were killed in the 17-hour long gun battle on Sunday.
After the surrender of the LeT militant, a top army commander asked locals militants to shun the path of violence and return to their families.
A police official said acting on a specific information, Special Operations Group (SOG) of J&K police and army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles launched a joint cordon and search operation (CASO) in Barbugh area of south Kashmir’s Shopian last evening.
He said at around 5 pm when security personnel was conducting searches, militants hiding in a house in the area opened fire on the search party.
He said the fire was returned by the security personnel, triggering an encounter.
According to the official, as the encounter was going on, reinforcement was rushed to the area to tighten the siege and prevent the militants from escaping.
“One of the holed-up militants was killed in the night,” he said adding amid the gunfight, a continuous announcement was made through public address system asking the militants to surrender and lay down the weapons.
The official said at around 2 am, one of the militants signaled that he wanted to surrender.
“We told him through public address system to come out of the house. As he came out of the house, the security men halted the fire,” he said adding the militant surrendered with an AK-47 rifle before the security forces.
The surrendered militant was identified as Adil Hussain Dar R/o Chitripora, Shopian.
Adil had joined militancy in May this year and was affiliated with LeT.
“After his surrender, he was whisked away by police men for questioning. The police officials are questioning him to know more information about the militants and the militant group he was affiliated with,” he said.
The police termed his surrender as a “good omen” and said it would set a trend among militants to surrender.
It was for the first time that a militant has surrendered before security forces and laid down weapons during an encounter.
After Adil’s surrender, another holed-up militant fired on the security personnel from the house damaged in the encounter.
“The militant was killed in the ensuing gunfight, which continued till 11.30 am,” a police official said.
The slain militants were identified as Altaf Ahmad Rather and Tariq Ahmad Bhat, both locals and both belonging to Lashkar.
The house, where from militants were firing, was completely damaged during the gunfight.
According to police, the slain militants were involved in many attacks on security forces and bank robbery.
After the surrender of the LeT militant, General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Srinagar-based army’s 15 Corps, Lt Gen J S Sandhu appealed all local militants to shun the path of violence and return to their families.
Earlier, the State police chief S P Vaid had asked the local militants to give up arms and surrender.