Waseem Shah, who was wanted in various terror-related cases, was killed along with Naseer, another local boy who had joined the insurgency in May this year.
Top Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist, Waseem Shah, believed to be the main architect of the unrest last year in south Kashmir, was killed along with his accomplice by security forces in an encounter early Saturday morning in Pulwama district, police said.
Shah, 23, also known as 'Abu Osama Bhai' was killed at Litter area in Pulwama, a place considered to be a safe haven for insurgents. This is the first counter-insurgency operation in Litter area in four years.
The Jammu and Kashmir police had been tracking the movements of Shah, who is considered as the 'don of Heff', another stronghold of militants in South Kashmir's Shopian district.
After information that he was at his hideout at Litter, police and its special operation group team cordoned off the area, police said.
Shah along with his bodyguard Nisar Ahmed Mir made an attempt to flee but could not penetrate the cordon which had been strengthened by the presence of the CRPF and Army, they said.
Shah, who was wanted in various terror-related cases, was killed along with Nisar, another local who had joined the insurgency in May this year.
A college dropout, Shah, a resident of Heff-Shrimal in Shopian, took up arms in 2014 and was considered as the 'chief architect' of last year's unrest in various parts of South Kashmir.
Born into a middle class family of Gul Mohammed Shah, who ran a fruit business, Shah was a college dropout and an active supporter of Lashkar-e-Tayiba since his school days when he had doubled up as a courier boy for the outfit, police said.
Of late, Shah, who carried a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head, was recruiting fresh cadres for the terror outfit.
He had been involved in various attacks on security forces in south Kashmir, police said.
Meanwhile, a civilian was killed as stone-pelting protestors clashed with security personnel near the encounter site.
Police claimed that the victim, Gulzar Ahmad Mir, was caught in the cross-fire between the terrorists and security forces, but some locals alleged that he was killed in the action by security personnel against the protestors.
Soon after the encounter, a group of people started throwing stones at the security forces, eyewitnesses said.
They claimed that six persons, including Mir, were injured in the security forces' action.
Mir succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Srinagar.
Four injured persons were taken to a local hospital for treatment and another injured is admitted to a Srinagar hospital, the eyewitnesses claimed.
Photograph: Umar Ganie.