07:43 GMT26 February 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): After the showdown between India and Pakistan over New Delhi’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status, security agencies in the restive region have been on heightened alert to avert infiltration by terror groups from Pakistan.

    Indian security forces have shot two suspected terrorist of the proscribed militant organisation Hizbul Mujahideen in the Shopian district of India’s restive Kashmir region. Police said they had launched a search operation in the area, following a tip off. The gun-fight reportedly lasted for 30 minutes.  

    “The terrorists were asked to surrender however they opened fire on security personals after which an encounter took place which lasted for almost half an hour,” said a senior police officer in the Jammu and Kashmir district.

    Former police officer Adil Sheikh reportedly joined the ranks of the militants after absconding in 2018 with seven AK assault rifles from a lawmaker’s residence.  

    “The other two terrorists have been identified as Waseem Wani and Jahanger Malik,” said the police official, adding that weapons have also been recovered from their possession.

    On  12 January, in another encounter the Indian army killed three militants, including a leading terrorist of the militant outfit Hizb-ul Mujahideen in the Pulwama district of South Kashmir.

    Founded in 1989, the Kashmiri militant group Hizb-ul- Mujahideen seeks independence from India. Its leadership mainly comes from Tral in Kashmir, considered a hotbed of militancy by the Indian security establishment.

    India abrogated article 370 of its constitution in August 2019 which stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status. It then divided the erstwhile state into two federally administered territories. 

    Ever since then, Indian security forces have been on heightened alert to avert any attempts by terror groups to infiltrate the region.

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    guns, encounter, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jammu and Kashmir, India, New Delhi
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