Mobile internet suspended, educational institutions closed, restrictions today
Zakir Moosa, the chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, was trapped Thursday after forces launched a cordon and search operation in a village in Tral of South Kashmir.
Reports about Musa's death had started circulating on social media during the encounter, but senior police officials maintained that firing was still on and the trapped militants, believed to be two in number, were still firing and hurling grenades.
The officials said that the gunfight broke out at Dadsara village after militants tried to escape the cordon.
They said efforts were made to make them surrender but the request fell on deaf ears and the holed up militants started launching grenades through a launcher.
The officials confirmed the presence of Musa at the encounter site and said more forces were rushed to the area to prevent the militants from escaping under the cover of darkness.
Unconfirmed reports said Zakir Moosa was killed in the encounter.
However, top security officials refused to confirm his killing.
“Unless we recover his body, we cannot confirm his killing. The operation is still going on,” a top police official said.
Advisor to Governor Vijay Kumar told Rising Kashmir that restrictions wherever required would be imposed to maintain law and order.
He said the local authorities have been directed to take necessary steps to ensure public safety and security.
Local residents said there was a brief lull in the evening around 9 pm after which they again heard blast sounds and gunshots.
As the word spread that Zakir Moosa has been trapped, pro-freedom and pro-Moosa slogans blared on mosque loudspeakers across different areas of south Kashmir.
The youth attempted to march towards the encounter site to help trapped militants escape.
Police announced restrictions in some areas of Pulwama, Awantipora, Srinagar, Anantnag and Budgam as a precautionary measure.
The authorities also suspended mobile internet services in most part of the Valley.
An official said all educational institutions in the Valley have been closed tomorrow as a precautionary measure.
He said troops would be placed on high alert to maintain law and order and foil any attempts to breach the peace.
Zakir Moosa, a close associate of Burhan Wani who was killed on July 8, 2016, was a militant of Hizbul Mujahideen who succeeded Burhan and later headed the Al Qaeda affiliate. He had taken to militancy in 2013.
Zakir Rashid Bhat, his real name, was an engineering student in Chandigarh, who abandoned education and joined militancy.
He was born in Noorpora village of Tral area. His father, Abdul Rashid Bhat, is a senior engineer and brother a doctor.