A top commander of the Resistance Front, an affiliate of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and one of his aides were killed in an encounter with the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Monday.
According to IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar, the slain commander was identified as Abbas Sheikh. Saqib Manzoor was one of the aides gunned down in Srinagar city. Kumar was one of the longest surviving militants and chief of the TRF. The duo was responsible for several killings in the city and motivating the youth to join terror ranks.
"We had information about their presence in the area. 10 jawans of police dressed in civvies quickly surrounded the area and challenged the terrorists, who opened firing. In the retaliatory firing, the duo were killed," Inspector General of Police Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar told reporters. He said the killing of Sheikh and Manzoor was a "major success" for the security forces.
"At the behest of Abbas Sheikh, Saqib Manzoor had carried out several killings. They had spread terror in the area," Kumar said.
Further, he said the people in the area were fed up as the two were motivating youngsters to join terror ranks.
"We appeal the people to prevent their children from joining terrorists. If they have already joined, please bring them back (to the mainstream). We will welcome them," he added.
Abbas Sheikh, who was earlier with Hizbul Mujahideen, had defected to TRF two years ago.
According to security officials, Sheikh was the mastermind behind most of the killings undertaken by his outfit in the past one year.
Manzoor, a post graduate student when he joined the TRF last year, quickly rose through the ranks as he was believed to have executed some of the killings in and around Srinagar at Sheikh's behest. (With PTI inputs)