PULWAMA: Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar’s nephew Talha Rashid was allegedly killed in an encounter with security forces in Indian-held Kashmir’s (IHK) Pulwama district on Tuesday, according to Indian media reports.
Two other suspected militants and an Indian soldier were also killed in the encounter in Aglar Kandi village, the report claimed.
A Jaish spokesperson confirmed Rashid’s death, according to Asia News International (ANI).
“Three militants killed during an encounter at Kandi Aglar village of Pulwama district includes nephew of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar and outfit’s divisional commander,” the JeM statement said.
The militants were identified as Divisional Commander Muhammad Bhai and Waseem, a resident of Pulwama’s Drubgam.
A civilian was also said to be injured in the encounter between Indian security forces and militants.
A firefight between militants and security forces broke out as personnel of the 182 and 183 battalions of India’s Central Reserve Police Force, the 44 Rashtriya Rifles and IHK police were carrying out a cordon and search operation in the area.
According to the Hindustan Times, a police spokesperson said the operation was conducted after receiving credible leads.
“While the cordon was being laid, the militants opened fire in which one army jawan and a civilian got injured,” the spokesperson said.
Two AK-47s and a pistol were recovered from the site of the encounter.
IHK Inspector General of Police Munir Khan said it was “an excellent operation, nicely coordinated between the Jammu and Kashmir police, the army and the CRPF”.
“We will ask Pakistan to collect the body because they [JeM] owned it,” he alleged. “The matter will be taken up through proper channels.”
Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat claimed that Jaish’s acknowledgement of Rashid’s death “makes it clear that terrorists are getting support from across the border”, ANI reported.
“Doesn’t matter if he is Masood Azhar’s nephew or anyone else, we aim at neutralising all terrorists no matter where they belong,” he added.