The security forces on Friday gunned down six Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, including one, who was accused of killing Rising Kashmir editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari, in a gun battle in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, according to officials. The accused has been identified as Azad Malik and was eliminated in Sekipora area of Bijbhera at the wee hours of Friday. The operation was jointly conducted by Indian Army's 3 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), 166 battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the police force of the state Jammu and Kashmir.
The other terrorists killed in the ensuing encounter were Unais Shafi, Shahid Bashir, Basit Ishtiyaq, Aqib Najar and Firdous Najar. The security forces launched a cordon and search operation following specific inputs about the presence of terrorists in the wopods of Sekipora. The operation turned into a gun battle after terrorists opened fire on the forces.
Apart from the gunning down, weapons were seized in large quantity, including a massive number of arms and ammunition at the site of encounter. Besides, five AK-47 rifles and one INSAS rifle were recovered by the forces.
“We have recovered war-like stores from encounter site,” army spokesperson Rajesh Kalia told reporters.
Bukhari was attacked by three motorcycle-borne gunmen while he was leaving his office in Press Enclave at Srinagar's Lal Chowk for an iftar party on June 14. Two of his security guards were also killed in the incident. Bukhari is survived by his wife and one son and a daughter.
Earlier, Bukhari survived three assassination attempts and had been under police protection since 2000. Bukhari is the fourth journalist to be killed by militants in the nearly three-decade-long violence in Kashmir.