LeT Commander Yousuf Kantroo Among Three Militants Killed in Encounter in J-K’s Baramulla

Top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Yousuf Kantroo, one of the longest surviving terrorists in the Valley, was among three militants killed in Baramulla district on Thursday, police said. Kantroo was involved in the killings of several security forces personnel as well as civilians and was among the top 10 most wanted ultras in the Kashmir valley, they said.

With Kantroo’s killing, the security forces achieved a major success, a police spokesman said. He said acting on specific information about the presence of terrorists in the Malwah area of Baramulla in north Kashmir, security forces launched a cordon and search operation there.

As the search party reached the suspected spot during the operation, the hiding terrorists fired indiscriminately at them, injuring four soldiers, including one officer, and a policeman, the spokesman added. In the ensuing encounter, three terrorists of proscribed terror outfit LeT, including dreaded terrorist commander Kantroo, were killed and their bodies retrieved from the gunbattle site, he said.

Kantroo earlier had joined as an OGW of HM (Hizbul Mujahideen) outfit and was arrested in 2005. He was released in 2008, but he again joined terrorist ranks in 2017 and started killing innocent civilians, policemen and political workers. Later on, he switched from HM to LeT terror outfit, the official said. The identification of other slain ultras is being ascertained, the spokesman said.

He said the injured policeman has been shifted to Army’s base hospital in Srinagar. As per police records, the three were categorised terrorists and part of groups involved in several terror crime cases including attacks on police/security forces and civilian atrocities, the spokesman said.

Kantroo was involved in dozens of civilian atrocities and security forces personnel killings, including the killing of SPO Mohammad Ishfaq Dar and his brother Umer Ahmad Dar, residents of Chatabugh Budgam, in March this year. He was also involved in the killing of BDC chairman Sardar Bhupinder Singh in September 2020 at Khag, Budgam, the spokesman said. He (Kantroo) was also involved in the killings of NC Block president at Natipora Chanapora, Srinagar; Tajamul Mohidin Dar, a resident of Guttapora Budgam in March; Gulzar Ahmad of Lawaypora at Narbal; Tanveer Zargar of Chewa at Narbal; Nazir Ahmad Dar (an employee of health department) and resident of Warihama at Warihama; sarpanch Manzoor Ahmad of Pattan, the spokesman said.

Kantroo was also involved in grenade throwing incidents, including the killing of CRPF personnel Riyaz Ahmad Rather, a resident of Nawgam Anantnag, at Kanihama in December 2017, abduction and killing of constable Mohammad Ashraf Rather alias Ishfaq, a resident of Archanderhama Magam, abduction and killing of Army personnel Mohammad Sameer Malla, a resident of Lokipora Khag in March this year, killing of SPO Mohammad Altaf during an encounter at Peth-Zanigam, killing of ex-SPO Naseer Ahmad Khan, a resident of Buchipora Kawoosa, Khalisa, he added. He was also involved in snatching four AK rifles from the residence of former legislator Muzafar Parray. Furthermore, on his directions Abrar Nadeem (neutralised terrorist) carried out an attack on CRPF at Lawaypora Srinagar in which three CRPF personnel attained martyrdom in March last year, the spokesman said.

The slain commander was also involved in recruiting innocent/gullible youth into terror folds, which included the recruitment of Faisal Hafeez Dar of Aaripanth Magam into terrorist ranks, he said. Incriminating material and arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of the encounter. All the recovered materials have been taken into case records for further investigation, the spokesman said.

He said two more terrorists are still inside the cordon and the exchange of firing was going on. Further information will be shared accordingly, the official added. Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar congratulated the forces for conducting a successful anti-terrorist operation by eliminating the top most wanted terrorist.

Commenting on a video in which the mother of a trapped terrorist in mourning near the encounter site is heard saying “come back my son, you are too young and innocent, these old cruel terrorists have deceived you, they are pick-pocketers and goons who are enticing innocent and young boys, the IGP Kashmir appealed to parents of other terrorists to ask their wards to shun the path of violence.

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