October 23: On Wednesday, reports have emerged of terrorists targeting a market in the Batmaloo area of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) by hurling two petrol bombs. As of now, no injuries or casualties have been reported. This follows Tuesday’s big victory of the security forces, where the successor of dreaded terrorist Zakir Musa, Hamid Lelhari was gunned down.
Initially, the security forces launched a cordon and search operation following inputs about the presence of terrorists in the Awantipora area. Later, they killed Lelhari and his other associates in an encounter. According to the police, arms and ammunition were recovered from the site. Two weeks after Musa’s death in May 2019, the Al Qaeda affiliated Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind announced Lelhari as his successor. He was a resident of Pulwama region in south Kashmir.
In a separate encounter, three other terrorists were killed in Pulwama. According to J&K Director-General of Police Dilbag Singh, they belonged to Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed. Two of them were suspected to be involved in the killing of two Gujjar brothers on August 29 in Tral region. This was one of the first murders to take place after the Centre’s decision to revoke the special status of J&K.
The Presidential notification combined with the passage of requisite legislation in both Houses of the Parliament in early August led to the scrapping of the special status of J&K. Furthermore, the state was bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. Subsequently, the government imposed communication curbs in the state to prevent any law and order problem. While Pakistan backed terrorist groups have tried their best to foment trouble in J&K, the security forces have been successful in neutralising terrorists and saving lives in the process. A few days ago, the Indian Army destroyed many terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to eliminate the possibility of infiltration of terrorists.