Militant, cop killed in Sopore gunbattle
NC activist gunned down for pursuing murder case of his slain son
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Informed official sources told Early Times that troops of Special Operations Group (SOG) of Sopore Police, alongwith troops of Rashtriya Rifles 52 Bn, swooped on a cluster of houses at Chhankhan Naseem Bagh, in the outskirts of Sopore township, over a specific information late last night. According to the tip off available with SOG Sopore, top wanted local militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Manzoor Ahmed Khan alias Burhan S/o Ghulam Mohammad Khan R/o Sangrama, was hiding at the residential house of one Mohammad Altaf Najjar.
Sources said that as soon as the leading contingent of SOG Sopore zeroed in on the identified house, one or two holed up militants fired upon it and attempted to escape. In the initial strike, selection grade constable, Mohammad Rafeeq, got critically wounded and died in a while. One soldier of RR 52 Bn later sustained minor injuries. Resident of Reasi area of
division, Rafeeq was an original recruit of JKAP 7th Bn. During his tenure in SOG, he had participated in a number of search operations and gunbattles with militants. One militant got killed in 10-hour-long operation and Najjar’s house was destroyed with an IED blast. The militant killed in the gunbatle was identified as Manzoor Ahmed Khan alias Burhan S/o Ghulam Mohammad Khan R/o Sangrama. Jammu
SP Sopore, Altaf Khan, added that Burhan was involved in a number of guerrilla strikes on soft targets as well as Police and security forces in Sopore area. According to him, it was he who had fired pistol shots towards a CRPF unit at Sangrama during the course of a demonstration in August this year. He said that Burhan was known for arranging medical treatment to the ailing and injured militants as also hideouts and transportation to Pakistani cadres of Lashkar-e-Toiba in Sopore area.
A Police spokesman said that floral wreaths were laid on the mortal remains of selection grade constable, Rafeeq. Top ranking Police officers attended the wreath laying ceremony at Police Control Room Srinagar. They included Zahoor Hussian Chisti, Inspector General of Police Armed/IR-Kashmir Range, Rouf-ul-Hassan,
DIG Armed Range Kashmir, J. P. Singh, DIG, IR-Kashmir Range, Deepak Kumar, DIG Central Kashmir Range, Srinagar, Javaid Faroqui, SSP-Police Control Room Srinagar, and all based Commandants of JKAP and IR battalions. Dead body was later dispatched to Reasi for funeral rites. Srinagar
Today’s gunbattle in Sopore happened in two days of the killing of two CRPF personnel in a broad daylight militant strike at Pattan. Death of two militants in a similar gunbattle at Chhankhan Naseem Bagh, Sopore, on June 24/25 had triggered off widespread mass demonstrations and clashes that left a number of civilians dead and scores injured in the apple-rich town in the next over two months.
Meanwhile, informed sources in
South Kashmir told Early Times that unidentified gunmen, suspected to be militants, today gunned down 55-year-old Ghulam Mohammad Rather S/o Abdus Samad Rather R/o Littar, Pulwama, at his agricultural farm in nearby Aglar village, falling on the borderline of Pulwama and Shopian districts. Sources said that Rather was associated with the ruling National Conference.
NC’s Kashmir Province President, Ali Mohammad Dar, as well as District President of Pulwama, Ghulam Nabi Wani Neelora, maintained that Rather was associated with their party and had voted for NC in the 2008 Assembly elections but emphasized that he was not a prominent activist or leader of the party. They said they had no reasons to believe that Rather had been eliminated on account of his political affiliation.
Informed sources said that Rather’s son, Maroof Ahmed, had been eliminated by militants in 2005 on the suspicion of having helped security forces in arresting and killing a militant. Militants had announced “death sentence” for Maroof and the son of a retired Tehsildar, Assadullah Wani. Tehsildar and his son migrated to
and gave their house in custody of a camp of SOG Pulwama but Maroof was captured and gunned down days after his Tata Sumo was torched near his village. Srinagar
Rather had subsequently pursued the murder case of his son, Maroof, assiduously, in the District & Sessions Court and even identified a detained militant, namely Ashraf Rather, and a slain militant, Gulzar, as the killers of his son. Ashraf Rather was later released. According to officials, he returned to his militant organization and exerted tremendous pressure on Rather for withdrawal of murder charges against him. Officials are now suspecting the militant at large as the man behind Rather’s murder.