On Tuesday, February 28, Kashmir police said that the terrorist who killed Kashmiri Hindu Sanjay Sharma has been neutralized by security forces in an encounter in Awantipora in the early hours of Tuesday.
Kashmir zone police quoted ADGP Kumar as saying that the terrorist killed in the encounter has been identified as Aqib Mushtaq Bhat of Pulwama. Bhat, as per the ADGP, earlier worked for the Hizbul Mujahideen terror outfit. However, nowadays he was working with The Resistance Front (TRF), an offshoot of the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.
#AwantiporaEncounterUpdate: Killed #terrorist identified as Aqib Mustaq Bhat of #Pulwama (A category). He initially worked for HM #terror outfit, nowadays he had been working with TRF. #Killer of late Sanjay Sharma #neutralised: ADGP Kashmir@JmuKmrPolice https://t.co/1EdTeobWYP
— Kashmir Zone Police (@KashmirPolice) February 28, 2023
“Killed #terrorist identified as Aqib Mustaq Bhat of #Pulwama (A category). He initially worked for HM #terror outfit, nowadays he had been working with TRF. #Killer of late Sanjay Sharma #neutralised,” police tweeted.
Kashmir Zone Police earlier confirmed the news of the encounter on Twitter and said, “#AwantiporaEncounterUpdate: 01 #terrorist killed. Body of the killed terrorist yet to be retrieved. #Encounter in progress. Further details shall follow.”
#AwantiporaEncounterUpdate: 01 #terrorist killed. Body of the killed terrorist yet to be retrieved. #Encounter in progress. Further details shall follow.@JmuKmrPolice https://t.co/2Wl6bIhYZH
— Kashmir Zone Police (@KashmirPolice) February 27, 2023
The development comes just two days after a 40-year-old Kashmiri Hindu Sanjay Sharma was shot dead by terrorists in Pulwama, in another case of targeted assassination. Sanjay Sharma was shot by terrorists in Pulwama in the early hours of Sunday. He worked as an armed guard at a bank in his village in the Achan area. Sharma was shot while he was going to the market, after which he was shifted to a hospital but he succumbed to the injuries.
Following the incident, the terror group Kashmir Freedom Fighters claimed responsibility for the same. The spokesperson of the terror outfit issued a warning to Kashmiri Hindus and tourists of additional strikes by the group, and referred to them as “pawns of occupation”.
Notably, the killing happened on the fourth anniversary of the 2019 Balakot airstrike, also known by its code-name, ‘Operation Bandar,’ by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in retaliation for the Pulwama suicide attack, by a Kashmiri terrorist Adil Ahmad Dar, which killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers in February of the same year.