Deputy chief of Hizb killed in encounter
25 July 2001
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: THE SPECIAL Operation Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police shot dead ''commander'' Masood, the deputy chief of the Hizbul Mujahideen, in Pulwama district on Tuesday night. A police spokesman said Masood, who was pivotal in initiating peace talks with the Centre last year, was killed during a clash with the SOG on the Srinagar-Pulwama highway at 9.15 pm on Tuesday. A pistol was recovered from him, the spokesman said. However, locals disputed the police version and said no encounter took place in the village. Unofficial sources said Masood had been arrested a couple of days ago and was killed in a fake encounter. Meanwhile life in Kulgam town and adjoining areas virtually came to a grinding halt when Masood''s body reached there. Shopkeepers shut shop and traffic went off the roads. Many locals joined his funeral procession, raising pro-freedom slogans. Abdul Hamid Tantray alias Commander Masood was a close confidant of Hizbul Mujah ideen''s operational chief Abdul Majid Dar, who announced a unilateral cease-fire with security forces on July 24 last year.