16:39 GMT +317 January 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Amid ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan over territorial disputes, the newly-appointed Indian Army chief General M.M. Naravane on Tuesday urged soldiers deployed in the Kashmir region to remain “vigilant around-the clock”.

    The Indian security forces have killed the commander of the proscribed militant organisation Hizbul Mujahideen, Harun Hafaz, during a gun-battle in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district, media reports quoted the Indian Army as saying.

    While further details are anticipated, the announcement of the encounter was made by an Indian Army official. The gunned down commander was wanted for two terrorist activities - the murder of political activists & weapon snatching in Kishtwar District. Harun Hafaz was also an aide of Osama Javed, Hizbul Mujahideen commander, who was killed by security forces in Ramban district.

    In another encounter on 12 January, the Indian army killed three militants, including a top terrorist of the militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen. The encounter took place in the Gulshanpora area of Pulwama district in South Kashmir. 

    The three terrorists who were killed during the encounter were identified as Hizb commander Omar Fayaz (alias Hamad Khan), Adil Bashir (alias Abu Dujana) and Faizan Hameed.

    The disputed territory of Kashmir has been a bone of contention between the two Asian giants and is sparking tension among the two. India and Pakistan have been divided by a Line of Control (LoC), a de-facto border existing between them.

    Both nuclear-armed nations are at odds with each other since 14 February 2019 when 40 Indian security personnel were killed in a suicide bombing attack in Kashmir. A Pakistan-based terror group claimed responsibility for the bombing.

    In August, India revoked Article 370 that provided special status to Kashmir and rendered it into a federally administered union territory. This resulted in Pakistan raising the matter on the international level. Both the nations claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part.

    Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on 17 August 2017, Hizbul Mujahideen seeks autonomy for Kashmir from the Indian Union and is said to a Kashmiri militant group founded in 1989.


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