12 HM militants surrender before J

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Jammu, Dec 23 (UNI) Twelve militants of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) including three longest surviving and dreaded ultras, today surrendered before the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad here.

Among the dozen militants that laid down their arms before the Chief Minister at a function in Ramban district some 200 kilometres from here, ten were operating in Gool area of the district while two operated in Kellar area of Pulwama district in Kashmir.

''It is also expected that after today's surrender more militant cadres would fall in line and join the national mainstream. Asif and Furqan were close associates of Billu Gujjar, the most dreaded militant of Gool area after whose elimination Asif had substituted him and kept his network active in the area,'' an official spokesman told UNI.

Meanwhile the surrendered militants have been identified as Manzoor Ahmad (Furkaan Ali) Divisional Commander, Mumtaz Ali (Asif Rahi) District Commander, Ab Qayoom (Imran Khan) Naib District Commander, Feroz Din Malik (Gazeen Nasrula) Battalion Commander, Abdul Latif (Jabed Iqbal) Naib Batallion Commander, Shakeel Ahmad Gujar (Danish Iqbal) Section Group Commander, Gh Hassan (Kamran Akmal) Operation Commander, Shah Nwaz (Shafu Rohman), Operation Commander, Mohd Rafi (Zaffar), Operation Commander, Bashir Ahmad Gujar (Berkat), Ab Latif Taidwa alias Zuabiruelha and Riyaz Ah Kholi alias Sajad.

''Ten AK-56 rifles, SLR 2, AK magazines 26, SLR magazines 2, Rounds AK 777, Rounds SLR 44, seven grenades, two RC IED 2, two wireless sets and eight pouches were laid down by the ultras before the Chief Minister and Director General of Police Gopal Sharma,'' spokesman said.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad said, ''State Police has done a tremendous job in bringing down the level of violence and restoring the confidence of people.'' After two-month-long efforts by a dedicated team of police officers, the militants were motivated and they laid down their weapons, spokesman said adding, ''With surrender of these dreaded militants, entire Hizb cadres have been smashed in the hilly belt while twenty-three top militants have been killed in the area so far while 17 have surrendered.'' UNI

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