June 2001 News

Pro-Govt Kashmiri militant leader shot

16 June 2001
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: Pro-Government leader and chief of Muslim Mujahideen militant outfit Ghulam Nabbi Azad alias Nabha Azad was shot dead in broad daylight outside his well guarded house at Shuhlipora village near Achabal in south Kashmir on Saturday. The Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility of gunning down Azad. The killing has dealt a blow to counter-insurgents in the area. Normal life came to a standstill in Anantnag, Achabal, Shuhlipora and surroundings areas dominated by counter-insurgent groups such as Muslim Mujahideen and Ikhwan. Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in the area to checkmate any backlash from counter-insurgents. Sources said that two hitmen fired a volley of bullets at Azad outside his house at Shuhlipora, 62 km in south from here in Anantnag at 1.00 pm today. He was hit in the chest and legs and rushed to hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead. Sources said that hitmen made a escaped despite the formidable presence of Muslim Mujahideen (MM) militants in the village. Some half a dozen MM cadres were reported to be keeping a constant vigil at Azad's house. Azad shot into prominence in 1994 when he declared war on Hizbul Mujahideen and killed dozens of Hizb activists. He also killed several functionaries and local leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami in Shangus, Achabal, Kokernag and Pahalgam areas for their sympathy with Hizbul Mujahideen. A close confidant of Hizb's founder chief, Mohammad Ahsan Dar, Azad gave up government service (he was a constable in JK police) in 1990 to join militancy in 1990. For his proximity with Dar, he emerged as one of the top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen. However, he defected from the Hizb in 1992 when Ahsan Dar was removed as the chief commander of the outfit to pave the way for Salahuddin to assume militant commander's role. After the arrest of Dar in 1994, Azad reportedly came in contact with security and intelligence agencies, who persuaded him to work for them. He changed the character of Muslim Mujahideen from a separatist group to a pro-government militant outfit and declared war on Hizbul Mujahideen.


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